Monthly Archives: December 2015

Who Really Matters? A Book Review on H. Mintzberg’s Essay.

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Having done a “good job” in Okayama, I got back to Tokyo last evening to celebrate Christmas with my family. For nearly three years, I’ve been privileged to support a Japanese leading company in sector of equipment for nursing. Even though the city has already become “cozy” for me, there is, of course, nothing more relaxing than being at home. Looking back what my family members and I have achieved this year, we really enjoyed celebrating the year’s end.

On my way back to home, I finished to read the newly translated book of Henry Mintzberg entitled “Rebalancing Society. Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right and Center”. I personally had the honor to see him during the latest round of “Global Drucker Forum” in Vienna. In spite of his prominent capacity as world-class professor at McGill University in Montreal, he was just walking around in the conference venue, as if he was one of the people on the street. In addition to that, his way of arguing in the panel discussion was quite inspiring, and somehow human and heartfelt. Besides Charles Handy, a British social philosopher, he was the most popular thinker who attended the forum, I guarantee.

In this book, Mintzberg tries to underline the “plural” sector. Now, you may wonder what it is. It is normally called “civil society”, however, Mintzberg refuses to call it so, since it raises the ambiguity of the concept. Apart from the “governmental” and “corporate” sectors, there must be, according to his idea, a sector which dominates the significant part of our daily lives. In this sector, neither power nor money are prioritized. Rather symbiosis matters. Based on his thought, what we urgently need is rebalancing these three sectors, particularly on behalf of the “plural” sector.

Henry Mintzberg, an honest economic philosopher, doesn’t hesitate to refer to a risk which could emerge in the excessive “plural” sector, which is called “exclusive” populism. He even mentioned the German Nationalsozialismus, or Nazis as a typical example of “exclusive” populism. If you don’t care and remember wisdoms generated in the world history so far, democracy always turns out to be this kind of “exclusive” populism.

Having said that, Mintzberg underlines the importance of this third sector, the “plural” sector, which is believed to be undermined in the current, accelerating financial capitalism. It’s “rebalancing” among the three that actually matters.

Although I’m praising his “radical” way of changing the course of the human society as a whole, I still find a built-in conservative factor there. Without touching upon it correctly, a radical renewal, which Mintzberg propagates, is never to be realized. What is it?

You can immediately understand what I mean, if you had participated in the above shown forum in November in Vienna. Lynn-Foster Rothschild, Evelyn Rothschild’s wife in the City of London, was also there and enthusiastically urged the audience to go for the “inclusive capitalism”. She never showed her reflection on the historical role of her own House and what’s happened in its global financial system, on which the modern and post-modern world history has been going around. All the three sector are included regardless of being “governmental”, “corporate” and “plural”. Behind the door, historical huge depositors make use of this system, while they never appear in the surface of world affairs. From now on, you can’t take even a nap, when you get to know there IS one traditional English family who owns almost all the land of London/UK, which lend its “tiny” parts to the House of Rothschild and the British Royal Family. So, I’m now wondering, “Rebalancing’s OK. But on what?”

Of course, I don’t intend to defame Mintzberg’s brand new book. Actually, it’s all up to you whether you can grasp what’s not written in the lines. This is exactly the rule that the world-class professors such as Henry Mintzberg have to follow. Not to make those who aren’t knowing recognize arcana of the human society is the very task these thinkers are obliged to undertake. Unless you won’t break the rule, you can never make a “radical renewal” happen. That’s it.

The Age of Commodities and China as a Black Swan.

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After FOMC’s decision to raise the US interest rate, BOJ announced to step forward in terms of its historical quantitative easing. However, expectation of investors gradually turned out to be total disappointment, while they understood BOJ will just start to sell off shares which it acquired as a measure of the QE from Japanese banks. The stock market rather collapsed since then.

Based on the facts we’re now facing, I can’t help getting back to the most significant rule in the universe: Le Chatelier’s Principle. Whatever soars, will fall in the next phase, and vice versa. So far, stock markets all over the world have been rocketing. Therefore, it’s quite natural they’ve just begun to collapse.

Almost all the so-called “analysts” in the financial market are trying to seek the root for the current situation in commodities: Because of falling commodity prices, stock prices are also involved in downturn. Particularly, disastrous trend of crude oil has been accelerating the trend, they are used to explain.

I strongly doubt the authenticity of such an explanation, since I’m fully aware thanks to daily quantitative analysis by my closest alliance partner, Mr. HKD, of the fact institutional investors now begin to bet money for higher oil, gold and (even) copper prices in the very near future. Oh, yes, “copper”. Can you finally understand what I mean by mentioning it??

The guys of Goldman Sachs refer to their analysis on the future trend in the oil market. According to their prognosis, the crude oil price will keep its downturn because of the following three factors: Warm winter, hard times of emerging markets and the end of Iranian economic sanctions. Now, you have to wonder what would happen, if the opposite cases of all these three would come true?

In this regard, I personally concentrate on the Chinese mainland economy. The shock wave caused by the Chinese market in the last summer seems to be rather artificial. PRC is about to lead the world economy by its chairmanship of G20 in 2016. To make it extremely successful, the Chinese leadership must have decided to make use of the above shown “Le Chaterlier’s principle”. To go up, the leadership made its economy go down once.

When the Chinese mainland economy will start to revive, everything in the market will be changed dramatically. This will be the case especially for commodity prices. The current quantitative analysis on copper price indicates such a dramatic change in the very near future. This brand new trend will stimulate and inflate the global economy, and higher inflation rates will lead us to face “minus” real interest rates in spite of higher nominal interest rates. This is exactly why FOMC has just made its mind to raise the (nominal) interest rates up to 0.5%. Behind the door, there must be a secret deal between US-American and Chinese bankers.

Be prepared for the age of commodities. Only more or less than one month is left for you to load a new gun. Stay tuned.

 

Es ist genug (It’s enough).

 

Last evening, I succeeded to get back from OKAYAMA to TOKYO by aircraft with my younger colleague. Why “succeeded”? Because it was reported to have rained heavily in Tokyo and our aircraft failed to reach OKAYAMA on schedule. The guy of the airline even announced it could get back to OKAYAMA due to extremely bad weather, even though it could once take off. Anyway, the destiny led me to move forward, and it had stopped to rain, before I got back to TOKYO, as it was always the case in such an occasion in my life.

Having enjoyed a dinner with one of my closest alliance partner, who’s expert of intellectual property, I finally got home and found the latest version of “Der Spiegel”, a leading German weekly magazine, on table. It shows “chronicle of this year 2015” with a series of persons who moved and shook the world community.

I took a look at it and had spontaneously a specific feeling: “It’s enough”. The prominent magazine shows us one after another what has been happening in this year. Murder, terrorism, and disasters. In German, I murmured: “Es ist genug”. At that moment, I felt I finally understood why Alban Berg, a member of “Second Vienna School” led by Arnold Schoenberg, picked up J. S. Bach’s chorale entitled in the same way in his last work “Violinkonzert”.

Of course, our life is continuous grapple for survival, which never ends. Particularly in the age of dramatic changes such as the current one, the destiny never promises us to survive and always divides us into two groups. The one consists of those who are allowed to go up, while another one declines. To keep on being in the former, every single member of the human society is forced to grapple with difficulties, which emerge infinitely. When you stop to do so, it automatically means the end of the game. The destiny will throw you away to misery beyond description.

Nevertheless, it’s true we sometimes need to take a rest to breathe deep. To make sure the meaning of life, we really need somewhere appropriate, where we can enjoy just the time passes. To go beyond turmoil in daily life ahead, it’s essential for us to find out such a sanctuary to survive.

“No hay caminos, hay que caminar (There’s no way, but we have to go ahead”). Our life gets increasingly hard, however, we’re not allowed to stop. Bearing in mind what the phrase “Es ist genug.” means, a brand new morning has come again.

 

The Man Who Knew Too Much.

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If you come to Japan or just stay there, you can hardly find out there are two different types of local human network. The one is a normal one: We can’t live without any help from other persons who surround us. In our daily life, we depend on each other to solve a series of problems we face one after another. This kind of human network always exists wherever human beings are. Of course, it’s not limited to Japan.

However, another network is something totally different: The Japanese Imperial House connects itself through both serendipity and synchronicity to those who play significant roles to help it reign. Official title or academic career doesn’t matter at all. Rather dual-directional secret flow of essential information and intelligence based on that make them all connected. And whenever the Japanese Imperial House starts to move, it sends secret signals to those who are chosen and get connected. The point is the Japanese Imperial House never express itself with words. Instead of that, it sends non-verbal signal to show the time to move has come. Only those who are aware of what “time and space” are capable of understanding what the Imperial House means. Once the signal is sent out, everything will begin to go ahead towards the next phase of human history.

The day before yesterday, a new signal was sent out. I was extremely honored to receive the signal. Thanks to it without “saying” anything, I’m now quite confident that we, the human beings finally step forward. I suppose a race of the Japanese people chosen by both serendipity and synchronicity, who usually pretend to be “normal” in daily life, have got the signal.

By the way, serendipity and synchronicity make me further understand what happened in detail again. While celebrating the year’s end with cozy guys in Fukuoka, I had the opportunity to get to know a former Japanese genuine corporate warrior from 1970s and 80s. As a member of Japanese esteemed trading houses or “SHOUSHA”, he was even dispatched to Teheran as student to study Persian. Since then, he was always situated in Middle East to expand his company’s business throughout 1970s and 80s.

During our conversation, I was totally ashamed of my own ignorance. I didn’t know even a tiny fact that each one of Japanese esteemed trading companies was exclusively in charge of one specific country in ME: Mitsubishi Corporation in Iraq, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. in Iran, and Sumitomo Corp. in Kuwait. Behind such a full coverage of business in Middle East, I felt the then hidden strategy of the Japanese Imperial House. It was crude oil that mattered for Japan in WWII. In lack of crude oil, Japan was defeated and occupied. Therefore, it was quite natural that Japan secretly approached to leadership of ME countries after the WWII to secure oil. For this reason, all the then Japanese “corporate warriors” were dispatched to there. Who currently knows among us that Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld were “good friends” until 1980s, while the latter brutally “executed” the former by “Operation Iraqi Freedom” in 2003.

I firmly believe the encounter in the last evening will again lead me to better understanding of the past. And with this knowledge to be acquired, I will surely contribute to enable “Pax Japonica” from the very near future.