Monday, January 30, 2006

The First Problem with Gonzo Marketing

Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices
Christopher Locke (2001)
Employment Market
My many working hours, months and days as a coffee server or barrista at the Second Cup Coffee Shop in the long demolished Kingston Centre on Princess Street in Kingston Ontario in the early nineties taught me a few things about marketing that carry me through the years to the present outlook that I maintain in the face of what these self-determined experts of internet marketing seek and wish to convince readers of. Namely, that marketing is dead. I do not believe it. Not yet.
Are human beings suddenly configured or wired differently due to technology? Do individuals suddenly process images and filter messages differently? Are associations and base needs somehow changed due to new technology? A search for an individual buyer of a product is still a fairly standard procedure if it is reworked back to the basic precept that an exchange is taking place between a buyer and a seller, be it a concept, a product, a service, or as of work and salary, as between employer and employee .
Work Search From Print to Net
For example, in 1993 when I arrived in Kingston I had no work, and had not even finished my degree, I was one credit away when I just said the hell with it. What did I know? And who did I know? Nothing and nobody. So survival was determined by a minimum standard of salary agreed to between an employee and a minimum standard of acceptable service to an employer who provides it. It remains a reciprocal commitment.
Similarly, an image, a tag line, or any other marketing device attached to the sale of a product is designed specifically to make a similar type of connection, at the subconscious level, with an individual consumer. Who remains the receiver of the message. The internet may be interfering with the average daily processing of images, taglines, and pitches, perhaps because it is diverting more and more attention away from mass media delivery streams where one size fits all. But the basic human nature of selective processing of incoming messages remains the same. So how has that relationship really changed in marketing? I am not convinced that it has. The idea that marketers must tailor their pitch to smaller and smaller segments of population may just more likely be explained simply that there are more and more varieties of products and services, more various economic scales of profit and loss, more diverse technologies, more services, and faster and faster methods by which to deliver a product or service, and a more competitive environment in terms of determination of perceptions of quality associated to those products or services.
Has that killed marketing? No I don't think so. I think it has made it smarter, better, more skilled at determining and maintaining perhaps shrinking and shrinking corners due to a multiplication of corners. That is not death. That is process reorientation. Remember it was not big-box stores that died in the dot-com crash. It was a bunch of internet marketers who oversold the potential harnesses that they had.
My job search in Kingston was of course facilitated by the local Whig Standard newspaper and want ads within and a daily preparation of CVs and cover letters, which necessitated a daily walk up and around to Kingston Centre Video Big Box Store to find the cheapest photocopies and the perpetual scrambling around for spare staples. I never got the idea that buying a stapler was necessary. In the same way, internet has certainly changed the job search patterns of seekers today. But for many reasons not related to changes in marketing principles, but perhaps unbelievably, I would estimate that job searches online necessarily require a seeker to process more diverse fields of messages and advertisements than a traditional paper-based search or walk around town, which is both healthy and fairly social, ever did. Think about it. How many engines and websites do you have to troll up and down to come up with a few reasonable employment prospects? Far more than one or two daily newspapers would require. How has that changed marketing? In my view it has just multiplied the numbers of opportunities for advertisers to send their messages to me about their products or services. And fairly cheaply. When you are actively searching for something you note quite a few more details and are likely to take in more associated messages.
Group Think
Congregational marketing in the physical human form is pretty well illustrated in the typical shopping mall. Which explains why things like dot-com crashes define the liquid from the dead. I was always fascinated to see how many hours people could basically sit in a food court and talk for hours, not necessarily shopping, but people watching, ruminating, jaw-boning, this was a primary human need that malls meet. The association is of course that group or community support network exists as an incentive to gather in throngs. This is something that mass marketing principles were born out of. Get them together as a group, give them a reason to feel comfortable and then offer them plenty of enticements and opportunities to consume products and services available in the vicinity. Are these physical tools to marketing dead? I do not think so. People remain drawn to parking lots the same ways and reasons for which they are usually also thronged with sea gulls. Something social as well as scrounging in the human condition makes malls a great success.
The physical marketing tools for designing bricks and mortar maximum profit yields in consumer shopping for example are the same treatments to which successful internet marketing sites perpetuate their profits. How has that killed marketing? Perhaps in some instances the pockets of consumers are smaller and smaller, but that adds another dimension. Connectedness technologically which technically appears to isolate consumer individuals in smaller and smaller groups. The mall is a great example of how feast and famine defines the sales cycles in such markets. Christmas and Easter were absolute pandemonium. And the rest of the year was muzak from Hell for most mall workers. But post Christmas and Easter rushes, there was great cull. A harvesting of the excess inventories. Endless pairs of shoes torn to shreds and dumstered. Stacks of books and paperbacks ripped to ribbons and tossed out. Coffee satchels which had expired their sell dates and packed away in the garbage. Such wastage remains a part and portion of the sales figures to indeterminant ends, especially as JIT has cleaned up a lot of the waste in retail sales, it has not eliminated it. The same proportions of sales marketing costs continue to steal the EAT from most business models. So how has the internet killed marketing? Especially if it is cheaper than print?
Secondary Marketing
Perhaps the secondary markets for many products are just more efficiently being addressed? As for brand image, there remain a fair number of products that do not react well to secondary market sales. But the internet has provided a full roster of services to address them. Locke addresses the needs of big business to measure and assess their marketing successes and the internet seems to more and more require registrations for even job ads browsing. It all seems fairly safe to say that the marketers are getting more and more loads of opportunities to track consumer profiles and spending than ever before. How has this killed marketing?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Harper Now?

How many trade economists have made it to P.M. in Canada lately?

Congratulations. It has been eighteen years. Now, let us pray...

Harper does not hear a Who?

Review Part Seven: Germany's War Machine Economy and What It Means to MNCs

Review Part Seven: Germany's War Machine Economy and What It Means to MNCs (War and Reconstruction 1940-1950) The European Economy 1914-2000 (Aldcroft, 4th Edition)

The advantages of nationalism were not lost on several German business and political leaders during the period following the 1929 crash. Their brutal strength and seeming unity of purpose in the early 1930s was grown out of the results of the economic meltdown in Germany which rendered nearly half the working population unemployed. Half of the workers in Germany were thus desperate to escape their circumstances of poverty, penury, and idleness. One cannot forgive the fact that their collective sense of responsibility was not inner directed. In that path, ideologues and cultural value systems had helped pave the way to a group belief that their culture was in many ways superior to all others far before Hitler and Nazism came on the scene. A collective resentment of war reparations and the abiding of treaties and pacts was also a heavy cultural influence on the extensions to power of dictatorship and its leaders of racial hatred.

The Jews of Europe had long been an easy target for the vilification of those less fortunate than they had been, particularly in areas of business and finance, particularly in the industrially developed world. However, being that large proportions of Jews lived and worked in the less industrially developed portions of Eastern Europe as well is indicative that their being targeted for ethnic cleansing was an international effort achieved under the same standards of efficiency which the Nazis employed in their reconstruction and recovery efforts. As one may gather from a reading of Aldcroft, the Germans experienced a truly international effort, through the expropriation of political, cultural, and industrial development in each of the nations which it brought under its control seemingly familiar domestic business methodologies if not outright military attacks.

As of 1932 the German government employed its public works to the benefit of the German working population. Aldcroft notes that the starting salvos of German recovery were financed with nearly 6 billion reichmarks of government funding. As of 1933, military expenditures rated only 3% of GNP which did not impact into a full rearmament campaign until 1934, but through which speedily, nearly the entire population was re-employed from half unemployed to under 1% unemployed. For factory workers it appears the ends justified the means, and in Nazi Germany the first purposes of power were to prove a promise to end unemployment. It was fulfilled and the leadership ensured its mandate by ensuring that effort, which is remarkable considering it was the meaningful engagement in productive income earning positions which engaged the nearly 4.5 million unemployed in a feckless faith in Hitler's leadership. It should be explored whether or not the targets of Nazi repression were similarly simply on the other side of the economic fence to begin with if one notes that Jews were not the only persecuted minorities during this period.

His abilities to swing the full forces of Germany's business community behind his objectives could not have come without the tireless ministrations of a low-key economist by the name of Walter Funk. This Walter Funk was the Nazi Party's bridge mender and keeper of the media and also to the entire industrial business community. His efforts are often overlooked and under-regarded in the case of economic development strategies seemingly first employed in Germany to which the ends of a military machine economy were uniquely first evident as Aldcroft notes.

As of 1936 the military production lines in Germany were gaining momentum and in full swing through 1937-38, government figures tell the tale in statistical formations through the diversion of consumer capital to government determined schedules and investments so that by 1939 fully 23% of Germany's production capacity was military and government determined in nature. A figure of 90 billion reichmarks is presented as total capital investment from 1933 to 1939 which would represent again the entire year's income in 1938 dollars for the entire country.

It is simply mind-boggling to imagine how clearly underestimated were these ties between such unprecedented productivity gains and the personal commitments to which each worker on each line of production had made to the leadership of such an enterprise. An evidently kind father of bread, clothing, and housing to the masses. Among Allied nations, the perceived kindness of military leadership had slipped and fallen from production capacities out of necessity, not only to reconstruct shattered economic patterns of transnational trade from 1913 to 1928, but also to rebuild the individual consumer patterns of individual workers in democratic societies, buyers, and sellers of the products which were made available to domestic free market trade. No other government had approached the real losses of domestic capacity in this dangerous a manner and for good reason. But uniquely, as Aldcroft has related, Germany was in a position to dominate Europe due to its new found industrial capacities, and its close proximities to less industrially endowed neighbour states also prone to dictatorial regimes. Their alternatives to trade with Germany, and the accompanying links which guarranteed their co-option into its sphere were limited. Through which, the success of the German government's position was determined by its becoming the largest net investor and net consumer in its own domestic economy and by de facto trade with that of its neighbour trading states.

This was achieved by the successful diversion of much of Germany's private resources to public pursuits through wage and price controls, taxes and attractive savings plans which effectively diverted large proportions of consumer incomes into the maws of the first real war machine built by man from more diverse humble beginnings. Aldcroft notes that munitions and war materiel equalled work for the German population. So quite simply their enticement into the Nazi system was fully supported by the trade networks which Eastern European nations readily provided them. For the eastern borders of Europe were being patrolled by another kind of predator maw economy and its name was the Russian Bear. Germany's products were available to nations like Hungary, Czechslovakia, Austria, Yugoslavia, and even Latin America in exchange for bilateral non-currency based bartering arrangements which fired Germany's desire to acquire raw materials through tax write-off benefits and reduced borrowing requirements which effectively lowered their financial demands for investment by 25% only to increase their production and extend their economic suction-cupped tentacles.

It was a startlingly divergent path to economic recovery among western nations, but it makes sense in terms of full exploitations of competitive advantages utilized some say excessively by multinational corporations today. Germany was an industrial powerhouse in Europe among several competitors in an international trading world which had shut its doors to foreign competition through several domestic measures following the 1929 crash. Its own population could not consume what it chose to produce and sell. A nation seeking to employ based on export trade in a world closed to such trade, located directly adjacent to primarily agrarian economies with high demands for industrial products, able to offer produce and food supplies to factory and worker in exchange for effectively underwriting Germany's further expansion of that relationship. Germany as a parisite expanded so rapidly through transporation and technological evolutions, such as road and motorized networks of scale never seen previously in Europe.

In direct contrast its slow-poke trading partners continued to remain in a rail transport mode of slow and inefficient logistical delivery cycles, continued to harvest crops and foodstuffs under less than up to date, efficient, or highest margin conditions. This environment sustained Germany's economic and super-charged amoeba. It would be interesting to note that had not Germany itself industrially turned into a militarily expansive mode, it would be hard to say what position its economy would hold in the world today. As it stood in the 1930s, it was producing war materiel not only for its own military use but for those of its neighbours through favourable exchange currency avoidance with bilateral exports of industrial product for purely raw materials. As this economic cycle grew, so too did the political chains.

This was the economic success of the German Economic Sphere. For its neighbours, agriculture represented the bulk of their exports. Following the 1929 collapse product prices fell from a half to a third of their former commodities prices. With the exception of Czechslovakia where 70% of exports were manufactured goods, as well as perhaps Poland which had significant industrial capacities, the vast majority of neighbouring Eastern European countries depended upon farm based commodities for their export trade. The region was in a ruinous empty bowl state following 1929 as Aldcroft notes, farmers represented a vast majority of business people, on average holding under 5 hectares of fields each, small-time, gumby and pokey economic players of whom each was indebted to creditors in this period to nearly 80-90% of their individually drowning collective annual income.

These nations wobbled and teetered in the realms of bankruptcy in multitudes of tiny vertical trade towers, and as such, were trading partners extremely easy to manipulate economically, similarly to having nearly half of your working population unemployed. Such workers or sellers easily bend and rush to buyer or employer dictates and pressures out of desperate economic need, of which the Nazis intended and did use to full advantage and great detriment. A similar trend might be noted in the dictates of hiring practices and employment in developed world businesses today as more and more and more of the educated and trained find themselves sloughed off through greater and greater flexiblized labour normatives.

Trade in Eastern Europe following 1929 had fallen to 40% of its previous export volumes. An overwhelming reliance on foreign credit left these markets in an extremely exposed state, regardless of the fact that the German foxes really were entering an Eastern European chicken house. Interest payments to service these debts were nearly a third of collective national revenues for each of these states. Each chicken, pig, and lean bony cow, each grain of durham wheat was being counted and recounted. These farmers had already seemingly willingly jumped into the cooking pots out of their own lack of industrial or financial resources with no means by which to grow these. So there were only two obvious choices of beds for them to jump into anyway, those forged in Germany or those forged in Russia. That Germany got there first could probably be credited to Russian five year plans in which "Fiddler on the Roof" and his friends were being seperated fron their individual assets to the same ends, which was also a massive brutal undertaking.

Aldcroft relates that as of 1933, Hungary itself was fencing off imports with special permits issuances only, free trade there was abandoned for the same reason it was everywhere else, namely to boost exports mostly dependent on government subsidies. Even Germany itself was subsidizing up to 60% of its export trade. No surprise then, Germany could then support prices set on favourable terms and generate massive import surpluses in an interest-free financing of its total production capacity and fund further expansion. So these raw materials imports were gained without foreign exchange demands which easily supported export of secondary products for more primary imports. The roles were reversed in Germany's trading partners however as were the benefits of the trade. Bilateral trade agreements slipped through pressures and blockages, barriers through which every nation attempted to maintain itself. But the rates of import and export reliance on Germany among many nations is revealed as the real blitkrieg according to Aldcroft. In Bulgaria, export trade volumes to Germany increased from 36 to 71% , in Romania 17-43%, in Yugoslavia 14 to 46%, in Hungary 11-52% all over the period 1933-1939.

These kinds of economic alignments really define collective nationalist reactions to the 1929 crash. In and among these nations the shifts often not industrial in nature simply reorganized state ownership of formerly private agricultural spheres to boost profits. But as Aldcroft notes Poland's recovery involved a heavy government ownership strategy particularly in the Warsaw, Krakow, Lwow industrial triangle which would deliver majority government holdings in armourments production, chemicals, and exchange stocks in iron (4%), metals, and oil (20%), seeing 100 fully state-owned companies and fifty majority holdings in stock traded corporations as overall policy during this period. While this looks and smells like Communism, Poland was not at this time. State run policies were not completely successful as Aldcroft notes, even Russian plans similarly faltered. Productivity in state enterprise always appears low, resources were limited, restrictive exchange policies and high taxes ensured free market noncompetitiveness. These businesses were created in an age of restrictive international trade barriers and perhaps that is where such systems have always belonged.

As for the farming nations, Aldcroft writes that mechanisations, improved fertilizers, and scale of production little increased yields again due to the small sizes of average holdings which could not achieve economies of scale necessary for real gains to be made through export trade profits, aside from providing all of the cards which the Germans seemed to be holding. In addition, these gimpy economic units were capital-starved, over-populated, with low wages and small proportions of potential industrial production growth, seemingly locked in to similar trade patterns with a developed nation as many remain of the earth today. Eastern European collective income growth as Aldcroft states was just too damn slow from the 1910-1930s period as in the Balkans today perhaps with the exclusion of Slovenia. Production rates could not exceed local demands or stimulate new growth. Their economic portion of the trading pie had not really developed beyond 1913.

As of Europe as a whole, Aldcroft calculates that domestic outputs continued to remain to the tune of two-thirds of total in just three countries. The U.K., Germany, and France. These disparities ensured Germany's success in its recovery efforts and economic take-over of South Eastern Europe. As further reading will prove, such an arrangment of trade in Eastern Europe was what Germany required to get the quick upper hand over its competitors in the west and maintaining such a master and slave relationship economically among its future empire states was again the only route to its recovery and growth available. That it took on a dictator and military death wish as a nation to meet its short-term economic needs with long-term horrendous international nightmare was carried by an economist in the wings.
Thus "Funking Blitkrieg".

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Review Part Six: The Lead Up to Funking Economic Blitkrieg (War and Reconstruction 1940-1950)

Review Part Six: Funking Economic Blitkrieg (War and Reconstruction 1940-1950) The European Economy 1914-2000 (Aldcroft, 4th Edition)
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Nothing is so relevant to a basic, plodding, general understanding of the oversight of global economy as it stands today as a discussion of questionable economic principles in affairs concerning a build up to the Second World War and its effects on trade cycles and standards settings which remain in place today. I am talking about those chichevache and bycorn entities, which warrant the ire of the common man as of late, and measure only passing scrutiny in the world of economics research, these primarily World Bank, IMF, and Bretton Woods Agreements. European nations are no exception to influencing the creation of these last resort fail-safes and the paradox of their possible mismanagement.

The dynamics of the first global growth cycle from the 1880s to the First War were unparalleled growth and capital aggrandisements with run-away speculations, robber barons, non-accounted double-booking lendings and borrowings, currency flight, assimilation of limited liabilities trusts, gold hoardings, and corporate enterprises unleashed upon the biggest amassed debts services and interest payments all-you-could EAT buffet in history supported by the largest scale production and assembly lines creations in history.

The following reconstruction period was the shifting of capital and gold reserves out of debtor nations to their creditors and the ensnaring of entire national economies into a zero-sum game of pyramid debts financing arrangements and baked crooked schemes. The final push up to 1929 was a relentless business world myopia regarding the perceived views that there were no barriers to productivity and growth. Corporate consumers it seems had swelled to such overbearing sizes that one would have to push back the fat even to see their beady little eyes. Old cycles, precedence, the relevance of historical review in determining present and future economic states of affairs, overt analysis of real world causes and effects, all were considered party-poopingly gauche. Where the hell were the economists?

They were there. Or at least, their rise was as a result of global business plunges and an inability to manage effectively without at least a few dozens of them. So they were invited in, tasted and toasted, lauded and vetted, these resplendent shamans, visiers and merlins, all busily stirring away over crucibles and mixing bowls, muttering formulaic incantations and coven-like gatherings together in quarrellings and squealing frenzies over bubbling standard-setting and transnational governmental policies. But it took them clearly, forty or fifty years to align themselves into the greater muck of deep thinkers and adept variables calculators which they are today. There were a few high profile economist-type animals out there, the ones sticking their heads up and out into public view, ones that the public could readily rattle their shakers and wave their sticks at, but as Brockway notes (The End of Economic Man) these people are just not the best crowd gatherers as far as getting the word out on common sense terms.

People like Keynes (Not Keynes however) and White probably preferred the comfortable backroom scenes and settings they shared with the paneled offices set, those Cuban cigars chomping crusts of banking and business elites, only willing to endure government filters on their tabac when they had clearly and utterly ruined themselves in the global Las Vegas stakes games which had been going on for decades. Frames of eloquent reference and smokingly engaging writers of interest are hard to find among the business-mongering, one may exclude Lee Iaccoca from such a pronouncement, even merely for his chequered coats alone, to common readers. Although I willingly exclude Aldcroft from this assessment as well, he has written a good text for the rooting about of personal exploration in the area of dead men wearing plaid. Economics is too often colourless, fusty, which might explain why enrollments in the topic are dropping like flies in many developed nations. The role lacks the public pizazz and the juggling talents of carpet-baggers like Keynes. However by all accounts trained economists are paid well enough. Surprisingly then income is not the issue? Is it the absurdity that not enough people know what they do maybe? Perhaps economists have not thoroughly engaged the mighty marketing angles they could use to overwhelm their departments with willing applicants? It is obviously not a conspiracy. But quite possibly simply indicative, that once again, the great business scions are deeming their chances a little too highly again.

Without these bean counters, without Keynes-like manipulators and wrestling wheeler-dealers at the tables, it is very likely these business mavens will wreck themselves, again, possibly more forcibly, due to the absence of any variables settings which might encourage them to operate with a mite more concern for reasonable outcomes of operating without evolving econometrical pace setting or theoretical improvements which is clearly what defines public versus private benefit. Is there any coincidence that these organisations of global reknown effectively mitre-out public oversight even by seemingly embracing public input, but at the same time belittle it? All of those NGOs out there entering the fray, often just as unaccountable as the organisations they seek to engage.

That econometric metronomes are all often wound and clicked out to the same beats and seemingly goose-stepped measures is a worry for many. For one, economists are afforded some of the few ivory towers remaining in a business world of often ill-regarded repute. Maybe it is for the best that apparently too few people know or care about what they do. For example, my own postgraduate studies in International Business were undertaken from an economist's perspective (I think). Milling around the Middle East with the rest of the workers on days off, I often wondered what benefits salary could contribute to my understanding of the world. Or even a full suit of salwar khamis. But naturally, idleness breeds discontent. Unfortunately, discontent is not always assuaged by the pursuit of knowledge. Do not take my word for it. My solution, which appears to have become a full-time vocation was to start reading deeply in the domain of the foxes.

Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals. ~Voltaire
This Voltaire was a great consumer of coffee, apparently about fifty cups a day.

So even a desire to preclude idleness could foster instantaneous death in a man of intellectual intelligence and wit with a few more cups, merely by seeking to combat idleness, which means I shall be utterly lost and confounded due to my mere two or three cups a day perhaps living to a hundred as a result of an absence of fuller volumes of the human oils, intellect, or wit. What I have become I am afraid is the poor man's horse or hound of mixed varieties. I know this to be true, which I hope explains an idle interest in economics. Direct interest has yet to be a profit-making enterprise. But basically appears to be the point to a certain extent. Rogue economists are loathed as fusty, musty dust stirrers, likened to saboteurs or the odd types that like to round up the tumble weeds a bit, and bring some semblance of understanding of what these people actually appear to do at times, namely how they effect global trade mechanisms, how they lurch about evaluating trade based on metrics which often appear to intend to seperate human responsibilities from corporate actions and government induced policies. As Aldcroft notes, these have outlandish and outstanding effects on every facet of business. He also proves one can determine the states of economics history and the possible determinant factors required in the study of it as truly the greatest of parades in English Literature may attest.

But this was drawne of six vnequall beasts,
On which her six sage Counsellours did ryde,
Taught to obay their bestiall beheasts,
With like conditions to their kinds applyde:
Of which the first, that all the rest did guyde,
Was sluggish Idlenesse the nourse of sin;
Vpon a slouthfull Asse he chose to ryde,
Arayd in habit blacke, and amis thin,
Like to an holy Monck, the seruice to begin.
(Book IV, Canto I, The Fairie Queene)

Additional historical proof perhaps that too few of these brahmins have descended out of their ivory towers to account for whether or not corporation and capitalist powers have graciously coddled together for them to avoid really proving collectively that they are not just rubber stamp advocates of what often appears to amount to the capitalist outweighing of democratic principles at times. Apparently our times? That this dynamic of push and pull is in fact the provocation of these tinkerers and mechanics into the practice of their pseudo-sciences on the world stage to begin with, free at large, to sort out a real economic mess is a credit to their perceived colourlessness. But clearly, as Aldcroft indicates, and as a loquacious orchid among them, democratic nations were facing a formidable challenge in Europe following the 1929 crash, not just in terms of war, but in terms of aligning themselves in any orders built out of economic chaos through not only recovery, but another go at reconstruction due to their own circular parades.

Recovery is noted as early as 1932 by Aldcroft. But it was not really underway fully until the mid-1930s. An interruption in 1937-1938 is noted as the necessary recessionary effects of, to no surprise, renewed European build-ups for war, again. All of Europe had suffered especially in the areas of extremely high unemployment, and while Aldcroft states that the British mostly had a structural element to cause this, the most outstanding reconstructionist turned out to be Germany itself. He plainly informs that the methods of that success left much to be desired among most civilized nations then as today. But that Germany was able to eradicate unemployment was indicative to the extremes of which despotic government manipulations may achieve unhindered of moral or ethical concerns in the physical liquidating dissolution of minorities, or individuals holding significant although often unaccounted for wealth, property, industrial plant, and investments at home or abroad. Another great leader of growth in this period was Russia, evidence of the short-term successes to which Communist and Nazi economic models shared in their fascist manipulations of private capital in acheiving their desired economic outcomes. As for most of greater Europe prior to forced entry into wars, again, and alliances, again, there were no international attempts to rectify the issues remaining. Obviously, all players were pushing back from the table and it is logical that there should be no concensus building in terms of international trade solutions themselves, as factually, as well as perceptively, it had been international growth and trade issues which had perpetuated nationalism and bilateralism among the Europeans to start with.

Economists attempted however feebly to amend and abraid their collective ministrations through a failed World Economic Congress in 1933 and later US attempts met a similar fate. Doubtless, much salmon was consumed at these meetings, which probably helped Norway's current accounts and export volumes to a negligible extent. But Aldcroft notes the one fishy invitee who never made an appearance was the international lending community. There were to be no further feastings in or itinerant religious conversions made of this churlish international, global department. No international financing agencies crept out from their shadows to boost trade; global volumes continued to wallow far below previous peaks.

Thus the Age of Keynesian Economics was birthed. Business had failed to deliver itself from an inability at capitalist potty training. Thus government was obviously the only entity available to rouse debt ridden and dormant economies to restart on bare necessities like food, spare clothing, and mere shelter for throngs of homeless, unemployed and penniless production economy workers adding a socialist bent to the entire process. Those who had left their hayseeds at the door, were now threadbare, scraping the patent leathers of their shoes and the bones of last seasons bison together with their own tears to make it until tomorrow. Business dropped them as quickly as hot potatos. So taxations out of purse wrenchings and the dressings of sawdust sausages and snags led into full economic enticements based on domestic unilateral efforts alone which characterized much of the recovery of the period. Furthermore, despite all the wonderous technological leaps, these enlightened business-minded nations seemingly withdrew into themselves as the likes of hermit crabs never before seen, each peaking out and scrabbling about its affairs alone, each imposing currency devaluations, again concurrently, and the full iron-fists of state-mandated foreign trade factors which continually squelched and stymied their own collective recoveries. Withered domestic economies seemingly frozen to the marrow in fears of inflation. Thus state spending was pushed and prodded forward. Individual taxpayers brought forth to mend the ways of big bad business. The alternatives were a return to the guild and sheep farm states which had helped grow them. However none could afford even the thread to eye even that needle.

Singular tiny bright lights burned through the dark over Sweden and Finland, tiny industrial plants probably easily hopped over on a long jump compared to the dinosaurs of France and Austria. British industriousness included a desire to build sweat equity out of their own pitieous squires in a house construction and thus domestic demand enterprise which helped them afford their own bubble and continued squeak. However Germany remained a recovery leader, not only due to reparations debt forgiveness as granted by Hoover, obviously on that one, there appears startling coincidence that the most famous vacuum cleaner of the age bore the same name. Surprisingly France and Belgium took the bird-brained alternative to breaking the gold standard by sticking to it like stubborn fools, sinking up to their necks in home-markets determined turmoils demands curtailings. Aldcroft makes a good review of the efforts of Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, and Austria in proving that their inward, navel gazing attitudes to economic recovery mainly provoked their failures in this period. They all had much to learn about good government management of such a large international issue in an economic world that each was struggling to understand, but thought nothing of encouraging the kinds of economic nationalisms, from weakly effective to probably the most brutal ever recorded, which they ended up with as a result of their lack of collective economic cooperations. Economists are absurd if they attempt to contend that their discipline did not directly provoke the nationalist stances of Europe which helped ease the ways to power of not only the amoral, but economic Anti-Christ of Hitler in Germany as a result.

Collectively Aldcroft posits that industrial recovery was more about realignments, new products and technologies aimed at consumer domestic needs rather than export driven growth which fostered domestic recoveries, something Europeans really had little experience with concocting. Cheap money courtesy of government underwriting determined recovery, subsidizing and employing of entire industries in Britain and Germany , while in Sweden, Aldcroft notes good government policies prevailed including public works and relief efforts which actually inspired export growth. Such practices did not reach Austria which was like the sick man of Europe having little progressed due to expropriations of much of its industrial borderlands to Czechslovakia following the war; it was little better off than it had been in 1913. Which highlights the clear advantages to which the German economy might have availed itself even if it had not inflicted such a terrible cultural misalignment as Nazism upon itself and its weakly, economically gimpy agrarian neighbours.

Aldcroft makes no mention of possible significant expropriations in capital physical plant within Germany during the growth of the Nazi economy. However there are plenty of reasonable accounts out there which claim that most Swiss take-overs in Germany were the result of possible sweet-heart/shotgun wedding deals with leading industrialists which would guarantee their safe exit, and the safe exit of their investments to Swiss banks and beyond. There is no adequate accounting of allegations of looted gold and accounts in Swiss coffers through this period. Survivors of the holocaust would often arrive there with letters and bankbooks, unable to collect outstanding accounts through Swiss prescriptive efficency of demanding death certificates of vicitims of the gas chambers. True, German records-keeping efficency helped prosecute criminals at Nuremburg and the like, but redress of Swiss interlocuters has always been a difficult affair. Many would call this aspect of the economic mix unresolved.

That German economists may have played with significant stacks of stolen assets and capital is unaccounted for in Aldcroft's assessment of German recovery in the early to mid-1930s. But a similar review of Yugoslavian ethnic cleansings and motivations would indicate that sizeable transfers of agglomerations of investment capital must have occurred, just as those portions of territories in bordering Serbians, Croatians and Bosnia-Herzegovinans were always about clearing out prosperous tenants, mostly Muslims, from lands and the methods by which attained capital and assets were similar as well. The ends to which were assumptions of ownership at throw-away prices and control previously distributed among more diverse, more individually responsible minority groups, business leaders, and corporations amassed to atrocious ends .

Thus German influences in Eastern Europe at this time bore similar resemblance to its effects among its native Jewish populations in terms of economic power and influence. When the state itself sets upon its social minorities with the aim of absorbing and eradicating the powers and positions of those people, it is demonstrating the extremes to which corporate growth and control, as well as government sponsored policies can also exceed the will of individual independent nation states, if not in outright military conflict, then through pernicious exercise of economic incentives. Eastern Europe had little evolved from its unequal productivity and earnings comparatives with Western Europe since 1913. So Aldcroft notes that all Germany had to do was engage competitive advantages there, clearly, favourable exchange of industrial exports to an agrarian collective regional economy which had barely entered the industrial age. Imagine how easily the west was won with beads, pots, and pans to imagine how easily the German economy would expropriate its farmer cousins. Imagine how internally, the point of a gun was all that was necessary to expropriate the wealth and the rights, the millions of lives, but not the dignity of the Jewish people. So similarly treated were the Muslims of Yugoslavia.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

January 20, 2006: Appointment Offer Deadline

January 20, 2006: Appointment Offer Deadline

Dear Smok Fin,

I have decided not to take this offer of appointment. Numerous reasons:

1. Undisclosed contract terms and conditions (too many unanswered questions).
  • Lots of time and chances given to answer.
  • Lack of honesty obvious.

2. Unacceptable salary (far too low).

  • Require additional 15,000 Singaporean/year.
  • This salary was always minimum requirement.
  • Based on relevant research.

3. Unexplained salary setting process (management not accounting for choices).

  • Accounting department is far too silent there.
  • Which implies no clear accounting.

4. Contradictory information regarding salary (re: experience and qualifications).

  • Probably greatest disappointment.
  • Appears intended to misinform.

5. MOE does not appear to know how to treat or negotiate in free market.

  • Rude measurement of proofs of work and qualifications.
  • Too suspicious to be trusted as an employer.

6. Personal financial losses considerable.

  • Cannot redeem MOE's strategy.
  • MOE inspires no leadership as a result, no future desire to work for MOE.

7. No educational options/allotments enshrined in contract vs. interview hooks.

  • Interviewers were incompetent, throwing far too many enticements.
  • That is my hard experience. If it is not in contract it is deception.

Overall Conclusion
My image of the way things are done in Singapore is permanently altered.

I am satisfied that I resolved to clarify these points as per my concerns and I maintain that significant intransigence in the way MOE is doing business regarding contracts is obviously the reason they are hiring so many English teachers. Singaporeans themselves must be abandoning the vocation of teaching for MOE. It is sad to see. My confidence in your management structure is gone. The way MOE is doing business also explains why such a small percentage of Singaporeans have university educations.

Best of Luck with Your Endeavours!

Sincerely, Daniel Costello, BA, CELTA, MIB

Smok Fin's Words On Salary

Smok Fin said on Thu, 15 Dec 2005:
Do bear in mind that this is the minimum salary offered. MOE was unable to offer a higher salary because proof of working experience was not provided earlier. However, your salary and the final package will be adjusted once all the relevant documents have been received.
Smok Fin is a liar and cheater!

The salary that says 15,000 a year to your recruiter if you sign

05/25/05 Closes: Salary: 30K ~ 70K per annum
This is the salary range. For six months I told these people only 70K and do not revert for any less. They reverted and then refused to adjust...

My Company is looking for English language and English literature teachers to teach in Singapore.
Not saying for who.

Experience in teaching English language or literature is preferred. Salary commensuates with experience and qualifications.
I do not believe it. I am living proof it is not the case.

For those who do not know where Singapore is located. Singapore is a sunny island situated in South East Asia, just north of the equator, between the countries Malaysia and Indonesia.
That island without representative politics and the only method to complain about hiring or employer practices, many of which regulations government employers are excluded, is to submit a paid complaint stub at another government department. Note, you must be in employment already to complain about what these people pass off as good management. Could Switzerland be any better at passing the buck?

Why teach in Singapore? Singapore is a meritocratic society, without gender discrimination.
But certainly salary discrimination exists there for English teachers or the accountable methods of determining it.

We have an affordable world-class healthcare system.
Not on MOE English teacher contract salaries or benefits. What would 70 Singaporean dollars do at the dentist? One daub of imported fluoride?
High quality living,
Not on offered English teacher salaries. Told you could supplement your low salary with housing allowance. I think I would rather live in Mussafah.
we are clean,
I am sure MOE contracts officers flush repeatedly.
green and safe (low crime rates).
The only possible criminals might be the potential government agency employers and employees who break good faith arrangements before you even sign a contract?
Ease of communication as English is the language of administration and one of the official languages (we were a colony of Great Britain).

So far my questions were considered too complex. But I say...simple contracts= simple questions. The English Teacher Contracts Singapore Ministry of Education offers are poorly descriptive, and offer no insight to the position.

Inflation is comparatively low at 1.7% (2004), low taxation of between 0-22%, so you know you get to keep most of what you earn.

Not if you get screwed on salary offers from Singapore Ministry of Education.

Students in Singapore are typically well-disciplined, orderly and hardworking. The education environment here is one that encourages creativity, and fosters active particpation and disucssion.

Not about contract terms and conditions for English teachers.

Please email/post any questions you might have pertaining to Singapore or more details pertaining to the vacancies.

I did. I received nothing but the contract manipulations of liars and cheaters for Christmas.

Contact Information

Smok Fin
Look Out! Here comes another recruitment agency looking to collect big fat commissions off of your white asses!
Shame on you MOE, Archway, and your Capitoline She-Wolf Recruiters!

The Letter That Sunk Recruiter Commissions?

Accounting of Stubs and Employments
Singapore MOE
October 30, 2005
To whom it may concern,
Requested particulars of pay stubs and letters of proof of employment, at this late date, as of a crate of fresh oysters or the like, would be akin to giving you the numbers on my accounts as if you were a phishing unregistered lottery to be paid for on my winnings. One does not eat without tasting as if some hammour fish of the deeps. You are coming up with barnacles already and I do not encourage you to attempt to lance. So far your hooks are uninspiring and Smok Fin does not do Ahab well enough.
As I have seen no signed or sealed letters courtesy of the MOE, you are requested to take me to your leader, who I am sure has no intention of giving the impression of first placing MOE hands in my, as of yet, un-signed and un-sealed non-MOE employment pockets before ascertaining the suitable weights of gold with which my hardy mules would be most equitably balanced. Considering the flexiblized state of your employment intentions, namely, to range me as an English literatural honcho, ESL remedier, and general carreria da Canada I believe I set sights upon those weights and measures. But again it seems you wish to cast me as some sort of Pancho Villa.
It is as if you would wish me to believe that your powers were permitted to weigh my Swiss dobroes even though all the once fingered assayers have already finished such a job. It is as intended, my feeling on this matter is that you would wish me to imagine that I should be catalogued and listed among the bandierantes or bandits. But even there, my nearest affiliate would be a four hundred years dead Welsh-Irish roving pikeman who took the heads of British landholders home to the Counties of Costello. I am not that Costello. But I am "Cost-A-Lotto". Without such a designation I will set you with the Italians and Spanish.
This mere stub is submitted as an example of my skill in contract negotiation and a willful snub to any bureaucrat who would dare overly-question an artist in the jesting and jousting of his first noble art. My eyes and ears are constantly acquiring new information and my mind is as agile as an inspiring Turkish court acrobat or a Persian leopard. I seek justice in the Art of Contract and the arrival of a carafe holding civil-servant, a peacock feathered attendant who dutifully lays out as sumptuous a banquet as could be rustled for a former favoured camel boy now successfully running for a caliphate in mountains of exiled Confucian bones. Under my beak I would like an array of dishes of ducks, geese, and fowl with which to pepper a savory salary setting event.
Upon which you may attach longish tethers of the strongest raw-hides and twined leathers. Then the hood which currently covers my sharpish eyes over these events may be removed and reveal a deft plucking and pecking away over the bindings of your assessments of my talents in this field. If you do not find such mastery exceedingly appealing, thus may you insist upon the release of my penultimate claws over the nature of your repeated requirements. Then will I trouble your MOE no further. If it be as some prairie chicken then it shall run away and I shall have my dinner. Or as master, a MOE who pays, then here a kind sir shall have his (new) dear leader. Then shall I launch a sworded fish upon your boat.
I would not intentionally bewilder any MOE salary negotiator. This phalanx has struck but once simply never to strike again over such a rank carrion as the issue of salary. My bell must be rung with brute force as I am as deaf to the din of ravaging Pavlovians, charlatans, monkeys, and thieves as you must be to test me with such a request at such a date. Please bring forth the carracks and galetas. What glitters in this case is heart's gold. Please press me on which provisios of contract would be most appealing. For me to tailor silk sails I must be personably provisioned.
A descendant of rank but fair barbarians, Daniel Costello

Complaint Letters Go Unanswered at Singapore Ministry of Education

Complaint Letters Go Unanswered at Singapore Ministry of Education
Mon, 16 Jan 2006
Dear MOE Contact,

I have been running in circles getting paperworks to meet a Ministry of Education in Singapore contract offer as a trained English teacher. The problem is that your contract department is trying to screw me on salary. So I am being difficult and have about two days before deadline and I am still not sending in yet. It may just be for the best if I do not take it. I will not work for cheaters and liars. Which is what your contract adminstrators are making your Ministry look like to me now.

Considering filling the paper requirements for this position has occupied most of my free time other than writing and reading on my time off. So I am learning from it regardless of what happens. I will be moving from what was a satisfying contract in Korea, because I chose not to re-sign my contract here, missing out on a raise offer, because Singapore MOE said it would be coming through with a favourable salary adjustment following my proofs of work experience. Which it has renigged upon.

I have been cost thousands and I will not stand for such poor treatment. It is an insult, not only to me, but to your good management of your employees. If this is the kind of treatment that your administrative officers are permitted to deliver to hard-working individuals like me willing to be available for your employment, it is unconscionable, unethical, and you should be ashamed of yourselves for pushing me to complain about it.

I spent most of Christmas travelling three and four days around Korea to get five years of proof of work certificates. Meanwhile contracts management may have changed, and I got a notification following faxes of my proofs to say no adjusting salary increase would be provided as previously indicated. Grrr. You are doing little for your global image here. I will tell ten people. They will tell ten people, and so on, and so on...

I screwed up I guess in trusting lying bastards? That is what your Ministry looks like to me now. But I will be damned if I will let you get away with what your representatives did. I want "Lodi May" 's Manager informed to seek recourse in the time left, and if necessary I would like to make an official complaint that will lodge on her record permanently on the object of breach of good faith in contract negotiation. I am not at all convinced that that woman has any idea what she is doing. I have sent repeated requests for clarification of contract issues and educational benefits, implied in the interview in particular, but also due to recruiter's information, also a government employee, without any satisfying responses since the end of Christmas season.

Please refer me to the relevant authorities, be they Managers in your Ministry of Education, Foreign Recruitment, National Auditor's General, whatever or otherwise. You cannot expect satisfied signing acceptance of employment offer if such under-handed emasculation is allowed to stand. I would never stand for it. In fact, I could never even imagine doing that to anyone I expected to work for me.

But you can expect to be requested to compensate my losses. With good management of the problem. Clear it up, and promise me I will never have to do any transactions with those people again.

Sincerely, Daniel Costello
Mon, 16 Jan 2006
Dear Andrea Quek,

I have been running in circles getting paperworks for the Ministry of Education in Singapore position of trained English teacher. Problem is they are trying to screw me on salary. So I am being difficult and have about two days before deadline and I am still not sending in yet. It may just be for the best if I do not take it. I will not work for cheaters and liars.

Anyway it has occupied most of my free time other than writing and reading on my time off. So I am learning from it regardless of what happens. I will be moving this time, because I chose not to resign my contract here, missing out on a raise, because Singapore MOE said they would be coming through with a favourable salary adjustment following my proofs of work experience.

And I spent most of Christmas travelling three and four days around Korea to get five years of work certificates. Meanwhile their contracts management changed, and I got a beatrix beast who came through following faxes of my proofs to say they would not be adjusting salary as indicated. Grrr.

I screwed up I guess in trusting lying bastards. But I will be damned if I will let them get away with what they did. I want "Lodi May" 's Manager informed to seek recourse in the time left, and if necessary I would like to make an official complaint that will lodge on her record permanently on the object of breach of good faith in contract negotiation.

Please refer me to the relevant authorities, be they her Managers in the Ministry of Education, Foreign Recruitment, or otherwise.

Cheers, Danny Costello

Unanswered Questions: Beware of Singapore MOE English Teacher Contracts Department

Unanswered Questions: Beware of Singapore MOE English Teacher Contracts Department
January 11, 2006
Dear "Lodi May",
Thank you for your response. A little extra clarification is still required here. Here are some 30 specific questions based on your responses. Understand I have not called because I have not had anything good to say yet. Understand my questions are numerous, and I have previously had contracts to the extent of a hundred pages or more of specifics. As of yet un-documented experience for which I was richly paid. On the Pirate Coast. A desert climate, culture, and government employment within which many a finely detailed document may suffer the fates of Ottoman-like management influences and may remain there in layers, as thick as books of The Bible, but as buried as The Dead Sea Scrolls. Contracts, which I signed blindly, once believing in the good nature of my government employers, which is not always the best policy if one seeks to maintain enlightened self-interest. I do not lambaste government employees, I was one, but have an idea of what it might be like to be one again.
You may wish to know that teachers in Singapore are not paid overtime for extra hours.
However, you will continue to receive your monthly pay during the school holidays.
1. My question concerning this is complex. At what point in time, as in, is it days, weeks, or months in advance that a teacher is informed of the extent of their potential “free time” during school holidays?
2. Is there a deadline requirement that MOE officers must abide by in advance to inform teachers as to the extent of their duties during holiday periods?
3. I do not wish to anticipate free time but I do wish to know what are the timeframes, in advance, that I am given to determine whether I will be working during school holidays?
We do not provide free housing but a fixed rate for housing allowance for expatriate teachers on Cat C terms only.
You are expected to work during the school terms.
4. Clear. What are my typical working hours?
During the school holidays, you may be required by the school Principal or the Ministry to report for work.
5. How much notice will I be provided? What are the scopes of duties during these periods? Are they continuation of regular duties or do they diverge, for example to cleaning, painting, scrubbing, or odd-like duties? Would one ever be required to attend duties to which there would be no actual duties other than office attendance and newspapers turning or clock watchings?
As far as possible, most of our teachers would still be able to enjoy the school holidays in Jun and Dec.6.
Is that carved in stone? What is a reasonable expectation?
Your posting has not been decided because we have not received your official acceptance form. In addition, you will only start work with us in Mar that is in the 2nd term. As such we will be able to give a tentative posting only in late Feb.
Now that is clear.
I wish to reiterate that our teachers are not paid overtime pay.
Your posting will not be ready until nearing your start date. Most teachers are attached to a single school.
What I am looking for here is predictions.
7. What is the likelihood of a single school attachment? 7/10, 8/10, 9/10, 9.8/10?
8. What is the likelihood that undetermined school location will be adjacent to available, affordable, bargain-priced housing options?
The jobscope of the teacher varies from school to school. However, all teachers will need to conduct classroom teaching, mark students' work, conduct CCAs, handle administrative duties, counsel students, prepare exam scripts and invigilate during exams.
For which my previous experience would be useful.
9. What is a CCA?
What we can offer you is stated on our offer letter subject to verification of your original documents.
I will provide such original documents if I accept this offer.
Adjustment to salary is dependent on our assessment on the documentary proof of work experience submitted to us.
The meat and potatoes of why I have little good to say yet. You are giving me chalk. I want more cheese.
10. What is the process by which you assess?
Your documents have been received by our office, however, we are not able to make any adjustment to your pay.
11. What is the predictive range of adjustment of pay based on the criteria you (not yet) described?
12. Specifically, what is the adjustment generally made per year of accounted for work experience?
13. How does that tabulate on five years of accounted-for work experience?
14. What is the adjustment in pay for eight years of accounted for work experience?
Followed the instructions of the recruiter regarding this issue and receiving your position regarding it is contradictory information. Such dictums make me highly uncomfortable and scare me off such a position if such contradictions or so quickly made, pronouncements made even prior to period of employment.
Namely, I am most willing to take this position if my salary is adjusted upwards, with a transparent and accountable method beholding to my knowledge of accounting principles. It is a bad precedence for future contradictions, which may occur if each decision is made so quickly and so apparently arbitrarily. How is it that I could misinterpret my instructions?
Namely, I am trying to assess your willingness to adjust this pay. Clearly prior to signing a contract offer acceptance. It is a reasonable and pragmatic evidence of my logic-based assessments abilities in management peccadilloes or MOE policies setting. I seek to meet them. But only for more cheese.
15. Do you understand why it is important to know this?
I endeavored to provide you with copies of employment certificates from three previous employments or five years of accounted for experience under difficult traveling conditions. Documents not only proving my willingness to account for it according to your requirements but also proving the continued good will on the part of my previous employers. Which only increases my potential future value to you. Not to account for these proofs in adjustment of my salary remains a bone of contention in my craw of experience.
16. But at which point do you prove your good will as a potential employer regarding assessments of salary and proof of previous work experience?
17. Are you saying that you are unable to adjust rate of pay because you do not hold original documents?
18. Or are you saying you refuse to adjust pay for undisclosed peccadillo-like reasons?
I understand that what we can offer you is not what you are expecting.
19. What I am expecting is fair compensation. Based on my efforts in assisting you to meet your criteria in determining them. Something I was told your MOE would favorably adjust based on documentary proof of work experience. I trusted on this point.
20. Do you understand you have contradicted what your recruiter has told me, in writing?
However, you may wish to know that we have placed you on a Cat term contract, which is the best contract term.
We are not able to offer you a higher salary at this point in time.
20. At what point in time will a higher salary be able to be offered?
You may wish to re-consider on whether you are willing to take up the offer.
I am considering and reconsidering. Further information required.
Now concerning educational requirements of MOE, and opportunities for educational sponsorship awards.
21. Can you be forthcoming in explaining the process of attaining educational sponsorship awards?
22. Can you understand why it is essential to know how favorably a potential school location will approach these sponsorship issues?
This is where I assess my postgraduate qualifications are most useful. Namely, their completion was made possible by superior abilities in time management, research, and information gathering. To the extent that a regular program of postgraduate qualification was completed 22 weeks ahead of a regular 52 week roster of courses. This should provide evidence of superior skills in concurrent work and study schedules management. I estimate at least a 30% higher rate of capable learning speed than the average student.
22. How highly does your MOE rate such proven abilities for self-improvement in qualification granting programs?
23. For which educational options would I be eligible?
24. Can you provide me with detailed information regarding MOE educational development programs for working teachers?
25. Can you tell me what the regular scheduling of these programs is, specifically, whether they are taken in off time or during working duty hours?
26. Locations? Can you tell me when the next series of program entries to which I might be eligible would begin and whether or not I might be eligible for them?
27. What is the procedure for which eligibility is decided?
28. Is the educational award process as apparently arbitrary as is your salary increase determinations criteria?
These are the two issues to which I am most reluctant to sign on. Salary adjustments criteria and educational sponsorship options are not clarified, still not comfortably. It is as if you wish a period of assessment of willingness to conform to your wishes on the job before determining the full scope of benefits to which I am requesting, specifically, that you address in the contract, as good businesspeople should, to motivate me to sign that acceptance letter with full relish, flourish, and haste.
Immediate conformance to undisclosed contract requirements without questioning, I am sure this works with fresh, young, fresh graduates. It does not work with schooner Captains.
29. But do you understand that this pudding has already proved itself, repeatedly, over about a decade or more, possibly under much harsher contract requirements? Which guarantees full conformance to your wishes already.
But only on tangible, favourable salary adjustments and clearly marked educational benefits. If it is circular argument, then so be it, it is as much as monkeys scratching each other’s backs might be among friends. But contract situation: You scratch. I scratch. I scratch, you scratch. Are you clear on this?
To which I suspect that MOE wants to sing its own tune without the requiring of any itch scratching, here without cooperating in settlement of these issues to my comfort, namely perhaps because too few are questioning the workings of your enticements in interview, versus recruitment (mis)information (?) versus the reality of the working contract, a multi-purpose position without any scratched-out incentives as per what the contract does not specify. You seek that I desire it without knowing what it is?
This is in turn, a learning opportunity for MOE. Off the high horse please and down to dealing with this man’s contract please. A man possibly helping you to define the cross-cultural issues to which your MOE might successfully increase ratios of highly experienced and still highly motivated, thus effective international operators among the general ranks.
30. Who was that man in the interview (the one I thought was Smok Fin) and when will I hear from him again?
He who made all appear possible? Where is that godi-like man? Can I expect you to defer to his possible judgments in addressing any of these issues?
Again finally…
  • I went downtown, I bought myself an ice cream cone.
  • What do you think premium, double and triple scoops cost?
  • In fact, it would probably cost you less in the long, long run.

I wish to run in one direction for a short period. And then walk purposefully on a solid base of understanding. Without being tripped up by localized issues.

  • I think you might get what you are looking for, but you must also adjust what you expect.
  • You are Asians, are you not supposed to read long-term issues better than I do?
  • Self-improvement is a two way street, determined by individuals and challenges and in their desire to address them.

Organizations in their approach to contracts too. Thanks in advance for addressing my further questions. Seek to improve contract terms to guarantee experienced workers are drawn to them. This is what you get for free.

Sincerely, Daniel Costello

Canadian Election Commentary

Swinging Duceppe and Martin look like clawed badgers more suitable to digging holes. Who could willingly identify with those Canadian values?

This country needs a unified right wing at least, which is better than no right wing at all.

They make Harper look like a sweet little prairie dog from "Who Has Seen the Wind"...especially the part where the mean kids were swinging one around by it's tail... far I think the nature of badger politics is helping form the right more than anything else. Those sticky claws, and rat-like attacks...

If anything Canadians are beginning to identify with their true cultural values? Maybe it is time to rethink our national animal?

Beaver?(Similarity to prairie dog)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Part Three: Singapore Job Interview

Reality Versus Rosy View
What I was taught about Global HRM best practices includes several concepts of interview guidelines which would perhaps be useful for Singapore Ministry of Education. First, that I dragged my ass over, up, and down the mountains into Seoul from rural Gangwondo Province in Korea just to get oggled by a bunch of big-wigs with few real negotiation skills was an indication that I was interested in working for Singapore MOE, but only contingent on that salary offer being reasonably high enough to exceed that which I was already earning.
Previous experience in Singapore contract negotiations had not proven that Singaporean employers of ESL professionals are at all aware of the competitive pricing required to acquire truly experienced workers, as in, those with many years of experience internationally. All previous experience with Singaporean contract negotiators has indicated to me that there is perhaps a group metanoia there in terms of reasonable estimation of salary versus perceived benefits of living and working in Singapore. Naturally, Singaporeans take pride of their place in Asian cultural milieu, but excessively over-estimate the cultural draw verus the salary competitiveness factors.
Furthermore, the more a potential employee reminds a Singaporean that they must compete salary-wise to engage competent, experienced, internationally far from innocent in the educational foibles of government employment, then Singaporean employers become very difficult to negotiate with.
Singapore MOE outsources its hiring of English teachers to at least one government agency, for the sake of descriptiveness, let's call it, "Archway Redundancies Pte." The fact that this agency is mediating hiring means a few things to me. Namely, that if Singapore MOE cannot contract independently it is because it does not have the base human resources skills or employees required to process such affairs successfully. In addition, it is a screen of contact if you will, like that of cloistered nuns and friars, all cosily nestled within revealing few of their competencies.
The Interview
My "Archway Redundancies Pte." recruiter, let's call him "Smock Fin" was not even present in the videoconference interview, but naturally I expected that he would be there. No indications were made to the contrary, that of the three panelists, the one in the centre was not him. Naturally I assumed the master and commander was Smock Fin himself. But it was not. This fact was not even made clear to me during the interview itself. And when I complained vehemently that this misunderstanding should never have occurred, Smock Fin blamed me for it. However, my preparation was quite merely in my view, proven by my willingness to simply show up for that event. Considering it was a full day of return trip travels what else was I supposed to prove other than willingness to attend?
So as it turns out, the man in the middle of the table was not Smock Fin, it was a to this day un-named godi-like man, I though of him as Sukarno, but he actually now seems to me to be more like a "M. Telelink R. Strictanramputanunam."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Summary Chapter Three: The Management and Control of Quality

Summary Chapter Three: The Management and Control of Quality
(Evans and Lindsay, Fifth Edition)

1. Explain the Deming Chain Reaction.

Deming’s Chain Reaction:

  • Improve quality Costs decrease/less rework/fewer mistakes/fewer delays/snags/better use of time/materials
  • Productivity improves
  • Capture market/better quality/lower price
  • Stay in business
  • Provide jobs/more jobs

2. How does Deming’s definition of quality compare with the definitions discussed in Chapter One?

Deming’s Definition:

  • Never defined or described quality precisely
  • Focus on reduction of variability and uncertainty on production and design
  • Continuous improvement never ending cycle (Chain reaction)
  • System of Profound Knowledge (four points identified below)

3. Summarize the four components of Profound Knowledge. How do they mutually support each other?

Mutual support of four points of PROFOUND KNOWLEDGE

1. Appreciation of system: All components must work together to be effective, all people work together to contribute improvement.

2. Understanding of variation: Understanding of statistical theory, first understand then reduce variation through improvements in tech, design, and training.

3. Theory of Knowledge: Influence of Charles Lewis, “there is no knowledge without interpretation” Knowledge not possible without theory, experience is not theory. Cause and effect relationship.

4. Psychology: Understand people, how they work together, interactions between workers and management. Different ways of learning for different people. Pay is not a motivator. When people do not understand systems they blame individuals instead of seeking root causes of problems.

4. Explain the implications of not understanding the components of Profound Knowledge as suggested by Peter Scholtes.

Peter Scholtes: Implications of not understanding profound knowledge:

  • See events as individual accidents
  • See symptoms but not root causes
  • Intervention and its implications to the systems not understood
  • Blame individuals rather than the system
  • Do not understand community accountability/responsibility

5. Summarize Deming’s 14 Points. How does each relate to the four components of Profound Knowledge?

Deming’s Fourteen Points

1. Create a vision/demonstrate commitment:

Business not only for profit, also a social entity.

2. Learn the new philosophy:

Business must take customer-driven approach to survive.

3. Understand inspection:

Workers must take responsibility for work

4. Stop making decisions based on cost:

Establish long term relationship with suppliers.

5. Improve Constantly Forever:

Make it a way of life as in Japan and Thailand.

6. Institute Training:

People are greatest resource provide tools and training to improve.

7. Institute Leadership:

Instead of supervision/provide real guidance/make decisions.

8. Drive Out Fear:

Gain mutual respect of workers and managers.

9. Optimize Team work:

Break down barriers, share the work (like chapter reviews?)

10. Eliminate exhortations/slogans:

No posters or slogans, cut the bullshit, manage effectively!

11. Eliminate quotas:

Management should understand system, and seek improvements.

12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship:

Value and reward workers efforts, do not treat them like walking commodities or liability-zombies.

13. Encourage education/self improvement:

Continue broad education and self-development/develop worth of individual

14. Take Action:

Transform from top management and remove traditional inefficient hierarchical structure.

6. Explain Juran’s Quality Trilogy?

Juran’s Trilogy:

1. QUALITY PLANNING: Process to prepare and meet goals.

2. QUALITY CONTROL: Process of meeting goals during operations

3. QUALITY IMPROVEMENT: Process of breaking through levels of performance

7. How is Juran’s philosophy similar to or different from Deming’s?

Is Juran’s philosophy similar or different to Deming’s?

  • More alike than different
  • Quality is imperative in future of global markets
  • Top management commitment essential
  • TQM saves money
  • Responsibility is management not workers
  • Need for difficult process changes

8. What are Crosby’s Absolutes of Quality Management and Basic Elements of Improvement? How are they similar to or different from Deming’s 14 Points?

Crosby’s Absolutes of Quality Management & Basic Elements of Improvement :

QUALITY MEANS CONFORMANCE TO REQUIRMENTS/NOT ELEGANCE: Must be defined by management or nobody will know what they are supposed to be.

NO SUCH THING AS QUALITY PROBLEM: The quality department is not the problem, these occur in functional departments.


ONLY PERFORMANCE MEASURE IS COST OF QUALITY= COST OF NONCONFORMANCE: Most companies spend 15-20% of sales dollars on quality costs.

ONLY PERFORMANCE STANDARD IS ZERO DEFECTS: Concentrate on preventing defects rather than just finding them and fixing them.

Crosby is mostly behavioural approach versus Deming. Use management and organisation rather than statistics to engage the changes. Few details, focus on management thinking (if they think?) Thus not much respect for Crosby’s ideals (maybe asking the managers to think too much!).

9. Summarize the key contributions of Feigenbaum, Ishikawa, and Taguchi to modern quality thinking

FEIGENBAUMS: Coined phrase Total Quality Control/Three steps to quality· Quality Leadership: Sound planning management versus reaction to failures. Constant focus on leadership· Modern Quality technology: All worker force must integrate to solve problems that traditional management cannot. · Organisational Commitment: Continuous training and motivation of entire workforce.

ISHIKAWAS: Developed participative, bottom-up view of quality, trademark approach of Japanese management. Collect data, he said, analyse it using simple tools (including visual), use statistical measurements, he said, and teamwork.

TAGUCHIS: Explained economic value of reducing variation. Costs do not actually represent value of quality characteristic as long as long as products are within specified values. His loss? The smaller the variation, the better the quality, products are more consistent, total costs are less. His loss? The closer to limits, the higher the loss, higher inconsistency, lower the quality.

10. How does Taguchi’s approach to measuring variation support the Deming philosophy?

Most closely explain/share the economic value of reducing variation. Design quality into the product; engineer the product right the first time. Attack quality problems early in design phase.

11. What does JUSE mean by, “companywide control”? How do the Deming Prize criteria relate to this concept?


  • System of activities to assure that quality products and services required by customers are economically designed, produced, and supplied while respecting principle of customer orientation and public well-being.

12. Summarize the purposes of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.


  • Help to stimulate US companies to improve quality and productivity
  • Recognize achievements of companies/provide examples to others
  • Establish guidelines and criteria
  • Provide specific guidance to companies (Fill in Deming’s gaps)

13. Explain the Baldridge Award framework and why each element is important in any quality system.


  • Delivery of ever improving value to customers, contributing to success
  • Improvement of overall organizational effectiveness
  • Organizational and personal learning

14. Describe the key issues addressed in each of the seven categories of the criteria for performance excellence.

(Seven Categories)

1. Leadership: Focus on customers and stakeholders, empowerment, innovation, and learning.

2. Strategic Planning: Strategic objectives and plans frameworks/how to choose them and how to measure them.

3. Customer and Market Focus: How organisation builds relationships with customers and markets. How customer satisfaction is achieved.

4. Information and Analysis: How to analyse performance data and expansion.

5. Human Resources Focus: Motivation and organization of staff for performance excellence and positive working environment.

6. Process Management: Customer-focused design, product/service delivery, key business and support processes.

7. Business Results: Performance and improvement measurement in customer satisfaction, product, and service performance.

15. Describe the Baldridge Award scoring system. What do we mean by approach and deployment?

Percentage score from 0 to 100 in increments of 10 given to each item.

Approach: Methods used to achieve requirements

  • Appropriateness
  • Effectiveness
  • Alignment with needs
  • Evidence of innovation

Deployment: Extent to which approaches are applied to all requirements of item

  • Use of approach in addressing item requirements
  • Use of approach by all appropriate work units

16. How are the Baldridge Award Criteria commonly used by companies that do not apply for the award?

  • Used for self-assessment or internal recognition programs, so even if no intention to apply for award it can be useful for companies.
  • Accelerates improvement efforts
  • Energizes employees· Learning from feedback
  • Exchange of information/ask for help/feedback

17. How do the Baldridge criteria support Deming’s 14 Points?

1. Create a vision/demonstrate commitment: Leadership Category

2. Learn the new philosophy: Organisational Leadership item

3. Understand inspection: Process Management Category

4. Stop making decisions based on cost: Process Management category

5. Improve Constantly Forever: Continuous improvement core value of criteria

6. Institute Training: Item 5.2 Employee Education, training, and Development

7. Institute Leadership: Category One, Leadership

8. Drive Out Fear: Human Resource Focus

9. Optimize Team work: Teamwork in all criteria and Human Resource Focus

10. Eliminate exhortations/slogans: Moot point not directly addressed

11. Eliminate quotas: Organisational Leadership and Strategy Development items/ Information and Analysis and Process Management

12. Remove barriers to pride of workmanship: Leadership and Human Resource Focus/Customer Satisfaction and the Relationships items

13. Encourage education/self improvement: Employee Education and Training, Development and Employee Well-Being/Satisfaction

14. Take Action: Leadership Category

18. Explain the differences between the Baldridge, European, Canadian, and Australian Quality Awards.

OMIT (probably the question she will ask)

19. Briefly summarize the key elements of ISO 9000. Are they something that every company should be doing? Why or why not?

Key elements of ISO 9000

  • Founded 1947-Swiss
  • ISO means Equal
  • Quality assurance equal to peers
  • Recognized in 100 countries


1. Achieve/maintain/seek to continuously improve product quality

2. Improve quality of operations to meet customer and stakeholder needs

3. Provide confidence to internal management and employees that quality programs are being fulfilled

4. Provide confidence to customers/stakeholders that quality requirements are achieved in products/service

5. Provide confidence that quality system of management and requirements are fulfilled.

Companies can benefit BUT:

  • Not a comprehensive business performance framework.
  • ISO 9000 provides a set of good basic guidelines and an excellent starting point for companies without formal quality assurance programs.
  • Membership may be competitive advantage, particularly when benchmarking industrial or service categories and market positioning.

20. Explain the process of obtaining ISO 9000 registration. What is a registrar?

  • Third party auditor type certification
  • Process began in UK
  • Registrar (Accreditation Agency) certifies company/accepted by all business contacts and suppliers
  • Process: Document review- insure documented quality management policies
  • Pre-assessment (identifies potential non-compliance in documentation/manuals)
  • Assessment by visiting team of auditors
  • Surveillance/re-audits to verify conformance
  • Recertification every three years ($)
  • Individual sites must be inspected/registered individually from corporate HQ
  • All costs born by applicant
  • Registration audit costs from $10,000-40,000
  • Internal costs may exceed $100,000

(Cheaper than Deming applicants processes!)

21. List the reasons companies pursue ISO 9000 registration. What benefits can registration provide?

  • ISO STANDARDS prescribe documentation for all processes affecting quality and compliance through auditing for continuous improvement.
  • Intended to apply to all types of businesses
  • In some foreign markets, companies will not buy products from suppliers without certification
  • Often necessary for product certification
  • Required for international competitiveness

22. Why has ISO 9000 been controversial? How has the 2000 revision addressed some of the controversial issues?

  • Original standards and 1994 revisions allowed companies to be certified even if they produced poor quality products- as long as it was done consistently (working for Douglas and Fredendall? )
  • FOCUS on “passing a test” rather than improving quality processes
  • 2000 REVISIONS: incorporation of many Baldridge criteria
  • But ISO 9000 still not a comprehensive business performance framework