How Much is that Money in the Window?


!!439px-Yuan_collectionHow Much is that Money in the Window?

Chinese banks in the rural interior are putting money in their buildings’ windows. This is to indicate to their depositors that there is no need to draw all there money out because, well, there it is.

Should this reassure the rural poor and we Americans in the soundness of the Chinese banking system?

No. This apparent show of transparency and honesty is not that at all but more a three card Monte trick designed to fool the rubes. What proportion of the banks’ actual deposits are in those windows? Is it actually the money from that bank or from a central bank? And how much money is there in those windows? A Juan is worth about 16 cents in this country. Is there a lot of money in those windows or is it more akin to pocket change?

In an organized society, it might be better to rely on banking regulations than cheap publicity stunts to reassure the public. In the background of this story is the collapse last year of two co-ops that served banking functions. Many lost their life savings and now people are worried that once again all their money will disappear into China’s badly regulated, boom and bust, financial system.

If the Chinese want to avoid bank runs, insure the deposits. If you can always get your money whether the bank folds or not, you won’t be out there standing in the rain desperately trying not to be the last one in line. But that would imply a government faith in the banking system that may well not exist. It’s one thing for the poor rural farmers to lose their money and quite another for the government in Beijing to suffer loss

Business ethics is not just good public relations. Business ethics exists in a background of honesty and fair dealing. Sometimes, regulation is a necessary additive to make that honesty self-evident. In our past history, we have seen good banks destroyed by a run on its cash. To protect good banks and all depositors, we have rules. Those rules make for stable banks and reliable customers. However much the free market fundamentalists would prefer the Chinese banking system, our system works better.

I hope I’m wrong about the Chinese banks and that these Chinese, often rural poor, will be able put their money in or take it out as they choose. Banking is an important way of accelerating the benefits of having money. But however this situation develops, it is a cautionary tale of business operating without enough rules.

James Pilant

Chinese banks stack money in windows to quell rumours they have run out | World news | theguardian.com

Rural banks in China‘s eastern city of Yancheng stacked piles of money in plain view behind teller windows to calm depositors queueing at bank branches for a third consecutive day following rumours they had run out of cash.

According to residents of Sheyang county, panic began on Monday with a rumour that a branch of one local bank turned down a customer’s request for a ¥200,000 (£20) withdrawal. Banks declined to comment and Reuters was unable to verify the rumour.

The affected institutions are tiny compared with the scale of China’s financial sector, and the rush for cash appears to be an isolated incident so far. Rumours also found especially fertile ground there after a failure of less-regulated three rural credit co-operatives last January. Yet the news caught nationwide attention, reflecting growing public anxiety as regulators signal greater tolerance for credit defaults.

Miao Dongmei, who runs a baby supply store opposite the branch of the Jiangsu Sheyang Rural Commercial Bank first targeted by depositors, said she kept money at the bank but did not join the stampede. However, she said she had seen other customers carrying baskets full of money out of the bank branch, while armoured cars kept pulling up to deliver fresh loads of currency. Sheyang bank employees told Reuters some branches had been open 24 hours over the past two days.

A visit to one branch showed tellers had stacked bricks of yuan notes immediately behind the glass, piled above head level, and assembled cash piles the size and height of a double bed in the back to show there was enough to go around.

Despite repeated appeals from local officials for calm, by Tuesday the run had extended to another local bank, the Rural Commercial Bank of Huanghai, residents said.

via Chinese banks stack money in windows to quell rumours they have run out | World news | theguardian.com.

From around the web.

From the web site, China Bystander.

http://chinabystander.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/chinas-regulators-show-their-nervousness-about-real-estate-defaults/

Earlier this week, the central bank and China Construction Bank were reportedly discussing the bailout of a developer owing 3.5 billion yuan — believed to be Zhejiang Xingrun — that had borrowed informally at rates of 18-36%. Zhejiang Xingrun is based in Ningbo, one of the cities where government data released earlier this week showed home prices falling. Another is Wenzhou, a shadow banking centre. Two of Zhejiang Xingrun’s owners have been detained by police for what is being described as illegal fundraising.

Separately, the central government’s 2014-20 urbanisation plan released earlier this week calls for a national property database to be set up. This would be a precursor to a new property tax to fund the urbanization plan and to allow local government finance to be reformed. However, it will likely face local footdragging from the many officials who have squirreled away ill-gotten wealth in the form of real estate — even if some of that real estate is starting to look less valuable.

China Bystander. (2014, March 20). China’s regulators show their nervousness about real estate defaults. Retrieved from http://chinabystander.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/chinas-regulators-show-their-nervousness-about-real-estate-defaults/

 

Wichita police testing out 6 body-mounted cameras (via The Wichita Eagle)


From the article by Stan Finger –

A half-dozen Wichita police officers are testing a new body camera system that records everything the officers see and do outside their vehicles.

The field tests began two weeks ago and will continue for another two weeks, Capt. Jeff Easter said Wednesday.

“Anything that they get out of the vehicle on, they’ll record,” Easter said of the officers. “Anything is evidence. You never know what’s going to happen in front of you when you get out on the scene.”

Early results are promising.

“It’s a very good system,” Easter said. “The video quality is amazing. It’s much better than any other camera system we’ve looked at in the past.”

The system is manufactured by Taser, which is letting Wichita police try it out. The head-mounted system resembles a Bluetooth and can also be attached to an officer’s hat or eyewear.

I’m a little surprised that the police are adopting these without any fuss. I have read and directly heard about the police disabling cameras. But apparently it has become a useful tool for the officer.

I’m a little more interested in what this means for the rest of us. I recognize that the technology is available to be purchased now but it is not the same. These things kick on every time an officer exits the car. They keep all of what is seen for a year. This is no short time surveillance camera in a tie. While we are not police officers whose department is willing to spend the $5,000 a year necessary, we will eventually be the beneficiaries of the technology. Soon at a reasonable price you will be able to make a record of everything you see 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It might be useful taking college classes or at a family reunion or in large scale use changing the social fabric of the nation.

Will all Americans adapt their behavior to an utterly continuous recording of themselves by countless others? What will be the long term social effects?

In terms of business ethics, what we have here is the private becoming public. Discussions, comments and negotiations will all be easily recorded in the most informal of circumstances with the ability to keep records for years. Is there a disclosure requirement? Is there going to be an unspoken agreement not to use these in negotiation? Can they be used in court? This kind of evidence could come back to bite you as long as it exists and eventually those records will exist for the course of our lives or longer.

Will states or the federal government regulate their use? That is an important question. There is some regulation of recording phone calls. The grounds for this is that there is no consent from one of the parties. That would be a similar justification for laws on continuous viewing by personal cameras.

These things worry me. We seem as a society to do things without discussion and debate. When we do it turns every single time into a debate over personal freedom versus government regulation whether or not these are significant factors in the issue. Every subject can be classified that way but that doesn’t mean it fits into that box. Surveillance is more of an issue of what can new technology do and “what the effects are.” What are the advantages of this technology? Does it conflict with our customs and morality? What effects will it have in different areas of endeavor; medical operations, trial, sports, sex, and countless others. Once we think about the effects then we can start putting it into legal or regulatory boxes. But in current discussion the boxes come first and we never do the often subtle thinking that allows humanity to make reasonable and intelligent decisions.

James Pilant

P.S.

I went to a “gadget site” on the web. I couldn’t get a price but the system ad read this way. I think you’re supposed to feel like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible move.

This High Quality Body Camera set is ready for Covert Operations. This complete set is all you need. At a much better and higher resolution then our lower priced Body Cam, you get what you pay for. This is the best there is. Camera is powered by the DVR unit itself so there is no stupid 9 volt batery to weight you down.

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Net Neutrality: Who Should We Be Most Afraid Of? (via Rebecca Reynolds)


Excellent article on net neutrality. Thoughtful and intelligent. We need more like it.

She asks the important questions. What values are at stake here? What are our choices? But she ties all this in with some history of the developing media of the last fifty years.

Good writing. Please go and have a look.

James Pilant

Net Neutrality: Who Should We Be Most Afraid Of? The idea of open, accessible, unmoderated forums for discourse and exchange inspires me. Afterall, that is what I do for a living: I design processes that enable many people to engage in collaborative decision-making. That technology could push this process open even further, to many more people, to a borderless conversation, a churning think tank for innovation is a possibility I dream of. For this reason, I have been an increasing proponent of … Read More

via Rebecca Reynolds

Bismuth Nanoparticles


I have been telling my students that way back in the 1960’s, there were television series and magazine articles that tried to predict the future. Their aim was not very good. What has come to be was not predictable, what was predicted has not come to be. Reading the future whether by ancient Mayan calendars or scientific speculation is not a matter of certainty. One unpredictable development is that of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles offer often bizarre science fiction like capabilities to many fields in particular medicine.

This is from Science Daily

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they have designed nanoparticles that find clots and make them visible to a new kind of X-ray technology.

According to Gregory Lanza, MD, PhD, a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, these nanoparticles will take the guesswork out of deciding whether a person coming to the hospital with chest pain is actually having a heart attack.

“Every year, millions of people come to the emergency room with chest pain. For some of them, we know it’s not their heart. But for most, we’re not sure,” says Lanza, a professor of medicine. When there is any doubt, the patient must be admitted to the hospital and undergo tests to rule out or confirm a heart attack.

“Those tests cost money and they take time,” Lanza says.

Rather than an overnight stay to make sure the patient is stable, this new technology could reveal the location of a blood clot in a matter of hours.

This is a positive development. But there should be caution in these developments as well.

From ANSES, French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety:

At present, there is no routine method for measuring nanoparticles in a soil or water sample. Accordingly, few data are available on the presence of nanoparticles in these two matrices, and knowledge on the fate of nanoparticles in the environment is therefore limited. For the same reasons, it is also difficult to study the effectiveness of current drinking and waste water treatments to eliminate nanoparticles, and it is subsequently hard to estimate population exposure to such particles through water.

One of the prerequisites to the improvement of knowledge needed to assess the risks of nanoparticle presence in water is therefore the development of data acquisition tools.

More bluntly, if nanoparticles get in the water or soil, we can’t detect them and we don’t have any idea what to do if we do detect them.

That’s a substantial downside.

The French Agency recommends tough regulation –

Given this context, the Agency stresses the need to set up a system for listing and controlling the marketing of all products containing nanoparticles.

There is always going to be the question whether or not we are rushing into a technology that has the potential for enormous destruction.

I can point out based on my experience in the field of business ethics, that when confronted by the opportunity to make billions of dollars, safety concerns shrink in importance.

There is a great deal of opposition based on ideological grounds. But is it wish to allow private companies with financial stakes in positive outcomes to determine acceptable risks? There are not only many accounts of businesses that developed products without proper testing. There are accounts of businesses that when informed of serious problems closed their eyes to the danger. And lastly, there are literally thousands of cases where dangerous substances were casually dumped in the water, soil or air.

I believe regulation is necessary.

James Pilant

Wichita police testing out 6 body-mounted cameras (via The Wichita Eagle)


From the article by Stan Finger –

A half-dozen Wichita police officers are testing a new body camera system that records everything the officers see and do outside their vehicles.

The field tests began two weeks ago and will continue for another two weeks, Capt. Jeff Easter said Wednesday.

“Anything that they get out of the vehicle on, they’ll record,” Easter said of the officers. “Anything is evidence. You never know what’s going to happen in front of you when you get out on the scene.”

Early results are promising.

“It’s a very good system,” Easter said. “The video quality is amazing. It’s much better than any other camera system we’ve looked at in the past.”

The system is manufactured by Taser, which is letting Wichita police try it out. The head-mounted system resembles a Bluetooth and can also be attached to an officer’s hat or eyewear.

I’m a little surprised that the police are adopting these without any fuss. I have read and directly heard about the police disabling cameras. But apparently it has become a useful tool for the officer.

I’m a little more interested in what this means for the rest of us. I recognize that the technology is available to be purchased now but it is not the same. These things kick on every time an officer exits the car. They keep all of what is seen for a year. This is no short time surveillance camera in a tie. While we are not police officers whose department is willing to spend the $5,000 a year necessary, we will eventually be the beneficiaries of the technology. Soon at a reasonable price you will be able to make a record of everything you see 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It might be useful taking college classes or at a family reunion or in large scale use changing the social fabric of the nation.

Will all Americans adapt their behavior to an utterly continuous recording of themselves by countless others? What will be the long term social effects?

In terms of business ethics, what we have here is the private becoming public. Discussions, comments and negotiations will all be easily recorded in the most informal of circumstances with the ability to keep records for years. Is there a disclosure requirement? Is there going to be an unspoken agreement not to use these in negotiation? Can they be used in court? This kind of evidence could come back to bite you as long as it exists and eventually those records will exist for the course of our lives or longer.

Will states or the federal government regulate their use? That is an important question. There is some regulation of recording phone calls. The grounds for this is that there is no consent from one of the parties. That would be a similar justification for laws on continuous viewing by personal cameras.

These things worry me. We seem as a society to do things without discussion and debate. When we do it turns every single time into a debate over personal freedom versus government regulation whether or not these are significant factors in the issue. Every subject can be classified that way but that doesn’t mean it fits into that box. Surveillance is more of an issue of what can new technology do and “what the effects are.” What are the advantages of this technology? Does it conflict with our customs and morality? What effects will it have in different areas of endeavor; medical operations, trial, sports, sex, and countless others. Once we think about the effects then we can start putting it into legal or regulatory boxes. But in current discussion the boxes come first and we never do the often subtle thinking that allows humanity to make reasonable and intelligent decisions.

James Pilant

P.S.

I went to a “gadget site” on the web. I couldn’t get a price but the system ad read this way. I think you’re supposed to feel like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible move.

This High Quality Body Camera set is ready for Covert Operations. This complete set is all you need. At a much better and higher resolution then our lower priced Body Cam, you get what you pay for. This is the best there is. Camera is powered by the DVR unit itself so there is no stupid 9 volt batery to weight you down.

Net-neutrality complaints pile up (via wan k choi)


Amen.

Competition is very important in a free market system. But when companies like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other who want to keep regulators from regulating those companies keeping them from becoming gatekeepers of the internet whether it be mobile or cable, then I have to say let there be regulations. Comcast is already a large company in the area where I live. I don’t have the option of choosing another service provider since there is either … Read More

via wan k choi

My Friend, Jen, Argues For Normative Ethics!


My friend, Jen, commented on my earlier post, Personal Change Doesn’t Equal Social Change. He is kind to agree with me but I found his comments significant and I want to share them. So, I present Jen!

I agree with this post, and I think the shift has to start somewhere in education. Business ethics as a discipline needs to evolve beyond what it currently is. Currently, most of business ethics focuses on adhering to laws and other governmental regulation while maximizing profit. There is little motive for taking into account ethical concerns which do not have some sort of legal impetus. This shift will likely happen as slowly as the shift away from ethics and morality in business, but it must begin with education of those who are newly venturing into the corporate world. Business majors, MBAs, etc. need some sort of educational motivation to effect change as they move into the working world, which I believe will come in the form of making business ethics more of a normative field.