Beware the tyranny of one-size fits all | Washington Technology


.. Unfortunately, specific, mandatory certifications and specifications, many of them government-unique, have actually been making a worrisome comeback in recent years, even as the government ostensibly seeks to broaden its competitive aperture.

From cost accounting to capability maturity models, from contract type to acquisition strategies, we see too many procurements that send a clear message: Those who haven’t done it our way, or are not doing it a certain way, need not apply.

And that isn’t good for the government customer or the taxpayer.

Source: Beware the tyranny of one-size fits all — Washington Technology

Is Oracle’s departure from GSA just the beginning? | Washington Technology


The crux of the issue is that for these commercial companies, the risks and hassles of working through GSA may no longer be worth it. As one person told me, “The government market might be big, but it doesn’t move the needle.”

The GSA schedules also have gained a reputation of being one of the most expensive to maintain. It can take months to place new products. There also are compliance requirements around the Price Reduction Clause and the Commercial Sales Practices. Violations of these regulations are what often lead to audits and inspector general investigations.

Source: Is Oracle’s departure from GSA just the beginning? — Washington Technology

I’ve never seen anything like the massacre of the hedge fund business this year


The narrative goes something like this: Right now, because the Federal Reserve has suppressed the risk-free rate and juiced the returns of vanilla asset class index products, investors are prioritizing low fees and transparency.

But when the cycle turns, index products will disappoint and the skill of hedge fund managers (stock selection, market-timing, risk management, etc) will once again shine through. The assets will follow performance and boomerang right back into alternatives.

I would say that there could be some truth to this. But there’s also a lot missing …

Source: I’ve never seen anything like the massacre of the hedge fund business this year—Josh Brown—commentary

Brazil’s ‘Half-Price Culture’ Hurts Artists and Taxpayers | Bloomberg View


Brazil’s current cultural incentives date back a quarter-century, when then President Fernando Collor de Mello set out to funnel private capital into the arts. Collor fell to corruption charges in 1992 but his reform stuck: Some 3,100 stage, dance, music and book projects are flourishing under the Rouanet Law, named for former cultural minister Sergio Paulo Rouanet.

Under its provisions, artistic producers submit their ideas to a review board of bureaucrats and cultural notables. Greenlighted projects then court private sponsors, who may write off up to four percent of their federal taxes as cultural investment.

Source: Brazil’s ‘Half-Price Culture’ Hurts Artists and Taxpayers – Bloomberg View

Europe’s banks ‘not investable’ says top banker amid Deutsche Bank crisis | The Guardian


Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Credit Suisse, told a Bloomberg conference that Europe’s banks were in a “very fragile situation” and said there was doubt that European banks still had a viable business model.

Concerns about rock-bottom interest rates and how much capital banks should hold meant returns to investors were too low, making banks “not really investable.”

Source: Europe’s banks ‘not investable’ says top banker amid Deutsche Bank crisis | Business | The Guardian

As long as greed governs global sport, corruption will be endemic | The Guardian


The truth of the matter is that these sports reek of money, and money unregulated or uncontrolled soon reeks of corruption.

In the absence of self-discipline, and shielded by dubious members of the accountancy profession, these organizations have only one thing to fear – and that is embarrassment.

Source: As long as greed governs global sport, corruption will be endemic | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

Why Issuing Fiscal Money Could Help Exit The Italian Crisis


.. what is Fiscal Money?

This is not legal tender or a parallel currency but a financial instrument. By Fiscal Money we mean a euro-denominated bond issued by the state or a public (or semi-public) institution, covered by its fiscal value (i.e. valid for tax discount), maturing more than one year from issuance, but immediately negotiable on financial markets and so immediately convertible into legal currency.

Fiscal Money is a bond fully guaranteed by the state as a tax rebate, even if non-refundable in euro by the state: in this way it does not increase public debt.

Source: Why Issuing Fiscal Money Could Help Exit The Italian Crisis

The Unresolved Dilemma Of Czech Immigration Policy


In general, the ethos of Czech immigration law is still based on an unspoken assumption that the best outcome is for migrants (not necessarily refugees) to come to this country for a limited amount of time and then to depart.

The relatively low percentage of people granted asylum status also reveals little willingness to have migrants enter and remain on that basis either. Yet, the current reality of people interested in migrating to the Czech Republic and this country’s economic needs do not fit very well into this scenario.

Source: The Unresolved Dilemma Of Czech Immigration Policy

The World’s Water Reservoirs Produce More Greenhouse Gas Than All Of Canada | Popular Science


A reservoir is usually created by damming a river, overflowing the banks and flooding the surrounding area, creating a man-made lake that is used to hold water for energy generation or as a water reserve.

It also creates the perfect conditions for microbes to generate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane (a gas that is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide).

Source: The World’s Water Reservoirs Produce More Greenhouse Gas Than All Of Canada | Popular Science

Civil-society group Opciona is publishing a “Corrutpionary” to name Mexico’s many forms of corruption | Quartz


They are compiled in a new book, the “Mexican Corruptionary,” a tongue-in-cheek effort to get Mexicans to own up to their corrupt behavior, which costs their country’s economy billions of dollars a year and has wrecked social havoc by undermining its institutions.

It was put together by Opciona, a civil society group that seeks to improve civility in Mexico under the motto #EmpiezaPorTi, or start with you.

Source: Civil-society group Opciona is publishing a “Corrutpionary” to name Mexico’s many forms of corruption — Quartz