People Planet Society Technology

There is a huge need for “change” , for “corporate excellence” , to tackle the world’s problems in a whole. But how? Absolutely NOT how we did “manage” it the last 120 years. LEAN, SixSigma, PDCA, AI, ERP, ….. all “tools” to “get on track” again. But which track ? The same? Preferably not I would say.

Excellence should be a mindset by default , and for many of us it is, in fact I cannot imagine somebody going to work in the morning saying “Let’s make as much trouble as possible” and yet…. How do we get into as much trouble as we do ? My answer is simple : Because we have poor (weak) decision making. And how is that possible? By information getting
filtered out through “subjective analyze”. In this blog I will be posting some comments on (global and local) issues, which could be a result of poor decision making, just for the sake of showing that this is a universal problem in all industries and through all categories or levels of decision takers.

Jimmy Van de Putte

Email :
Twitter : @JIMMYVDP

An idea of the global treats for the next decades :
Some further "reflections" :


29 May 2012

EX Social capitalism needed ? This is an example of the first step


Hewlett-Packard's announcement that it would be laying-off 27,000 of its employees in a massive restructuring plan, marks a new low for the beleaguered company that recently posted a significant 31% drop in profits. However, HP is not the first tech company (and perhaps won't be the last either) that took a hack-and-slash approach to its workforce when facing economic uncertainty.
Here are seven major instances in the tech industry of employees facing the brunt for their employer's misfortunes.
1. IBM (1993): 60,000 jobs
Yes, you read that right. In July 1993, IBM announced that it would lay off about 60,000 of its employees, a number of jobs that most companies won't be able to create in their entire lives. Out of that number, 35,000 were laid-off directly while 25,000 were offered early retirement, a move, the company claimed, cut annual costs by $4 billion.
The decision was made by Louis Gerstner, IBM's then Chairman who had been brought in to revive the fortunes of the company that had just posted quarterly losses of $40 million ($64 million by today's standards). To his credit, he did manage that and is widely acknowledged to have saved IBM from failing as a company.
2. AT&T (1996): 40,000 jobs
The American telecom behemoth announced in January 1996 that it would let go off 40,000 employees over the course of three years. The lay-offs were part of a restructuring plan that also saw AT&T spin off Lucent and NCR into independent companies.
AT&T was widely criticized by both American politicians and the media since its then CEO Robert Allen was being paid a whopping $3.6 million salary that was also linked to the performance of the company's shares, the value of which jumped by 10% following the announcement of the job cuts.
3. HP (2008): 24,600 jobs
Yes, HP has done it before. For a company that's often touted as one of the best employers to work for, HP sure does fire people a lot. In 2008, after acquiring EDS, HP announced that it would lay-off 24,600 employees, over three years, in an effort to "streamline" the company.
Then HP CEO, Mark Hurd, who later resigned under controversy in 2010, said that the process would save the company $1.8 billion annually. In retrospect, and in context of the recent announcement of lay-offs by CEO Meg Whitman, it certainly doesn't appear to have done the job (no pun intended).
4. Sony (2012): 10,000 jobss
Sony has definitely seen better days. The consumer electronics giant had always been a profitable concern, posting a profit of $3.84 billion as recently as 2008, but is now being hit hard by, among other things, a television manufacturing division that has seen losses for eight years.
After announcing a projected loss of $6.4 billion for the fiscal year, Kazuo Hirai, the new CEO revealed the "One Sony" reorganization plan that would see 10,000 employees lose their jobs over two years. After four straight years of losses, Sony hopes to see an operating profit next year.
5. Nokia-Siemens (2011): 17,000 jobs
When Nokia announced its tie-up with Siemens Communications in 2006, the outlook for the new enterprise was optimistic. However, after facing stiff competition globally in the network infrastructure segment, Nokia-Siemens has struggled to become profitable, posting a loss of about $380 million in 2011.

26 May 2012

PV Polarization, alienation and "CHANGE"

Polarization, alienation and “change”

My own “fractal-association”-theory in mind, “organizations” ( any group of people working or interact together, so companies, as well as governments, communities etc. )  are prey to polarizations.
Polarizations that divide the mass basically into two groups,  A and B .
 I’m deliberately not calling them good or bad , black or white , poor or rich , dumb or smart , manager or executor , woman or man , parent or child , academic or scientist , or any other kind of labeling  ...
So when a “leader” wants his “vision” to be followed or his “plan” to be executed he is considered to get his “team” to do it, swift, efficient, effective, cheap and without too many problems…. So tell me why we need  “CHANGE” , LEAN, Six Sigma, ERP,  AI , BPR ,  “Softskilling” ( or manipulate , lie and cheat, which are the old words for it)  
There are definitely “things “going wrong I would say. Those “things” are exactly the reasons that people alienate.
When it becomes obvious to “the mass” that  the way their organization ( if you see it as a organic, living entity)  works, takes decisions, makes up rules, provides help to the employers to execute their tasks, or generally treat “the mass” in a whole, is going the wrong way , than you get alienation!
If working in a group becomes a joke solely because people see “managers” following their own agenda, and not caring about the good of the company, they’ll go to that “minimum sufficient”-state of contributing .
I took position here and made a bold statement. The workforce (value adding part of an organization) puts the company first, and “managers” put themselves on the #1 position.
Could this be true ? Of course , because those value adding - employers  (these could also be managers by the way)  who just have the ambition of keeping their job, unconsciously know that the company should do well for them to keep them working. “Managers” on the other side , who have a personal, egoistic gold digging- attitude , couldn’t care less about what the company does, just what the company can do for him/her and get them that 7 figure remuneration....  (in both cases  there are graduations  of course but I’m not getting into this right now ) .
So when AN employer gets disillusioned, frustrated or nervous about decisions being taken or company policy being  twisted into strange structures with a lot of “waste”  (some studies say up to 50% of non-value adding processes ! ) , he  will care a little less about the good of the organization an capitulate or “adapt” to that new ( worse) situation.
With each of those downturns these employers “alienate”, don’t care too much  about rules anymore, and give up trying to contribute to “better & efficient” processes, and will participate a little less, work a little less, think a little less, until they finally get to the “minimum sufficient” state of working.
And  than,in the end, when the “tipping point” is reached, we turn to “change” and all those “tools”  to attack “issues”  but forgetting to think about what actually provoked these “problems” in the first place.
We  get overpaid  consultants to come and do an easy job, coach “leaders” to teach  them to get  his message spread and his “management team” united , but still keep decision taking in a “dark - age version” , so alienation is what we should attack by taking another look at company policy, decision taking and participation by crowd sourcing for more involvement of all layers of the organization especially the value adding workforce,– So the effectiveness of decision taking in accordance to the company’s  core business  will increase the effectiveness of individuals , when individuals see  and feel  that they are useful and do useful work and feel part of a team AND feel important (by having their individual logical responsibility) .
It will not be a surprise that I have a different look on how an organizational structure should look like, it isn’t a “pyramid” anymore, it’s a Christmas tree” , with balls, lights and a garland , that works is for another article J .

23 May 2012

Link : Opportunity makes the thief ...

PV : Oligarchy , the big scary wolf !?

Oligarchy, what it says on Wikipedia :

The "iron law of oligarchy" states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations. ...
And also :
...“But with a powerful out faction ready to expose profligacy, no leaders dared take overly generous personal remuneration.”...

Forgive me that I ‘m the one NOT sharing  these thoughts and conclusions .

For me Oligarchy is :

“ The perception that  a small elite group is taking decisions for their own  benefit, but is actually the result of taking decisions with the wrong kind of parameters and mindset, due to different standards, moral values and operational experience and a focus-inversion on what result and cause is. “                  ( more explanation on request … of course)

Let me present you an alternative view.      

A modest company NUMBER ONE , managed by the owner, let’s say with about 20 collaborators is doing quite well, the boss controlling everything and with great revenue and profit , decides that the time is ripe for growth and expansion.  The owner makes 4 new units, with of course some value adding workers and some management. Thus getting more layers of  management, as we know it now, where even the flattest of hierarchy has maybe three, four or up to 8 management levels. And of course ,  each “level” is ought to earn a bit more than the one just below with the initial owner of course the highest pay.

Now, we have a structure that provokes pay scales , levels  and a certain salary-augmentation-steps with each level as it is linked to power, responsibility and hierarchical level or function. (and even with sort of work and other , but that’s beside the point now) .

Than government comes into the picture, with extra taxes, getting all the wages up, and eventually augmenting all the salaries.

The boss dies (or sells the company) having a need for a new CEO , the company starts headhunting, knowing it needs a great CEO , they buy one off another, similar company  NUMBER TWO( take an exact copy of number one) . How? By paying him more that he is earning now ! Do this for all “management functions, and what do you get Right, exorbitant but understandable ( AND LUDICRACE ) wages and remunerations . ( so #1 YES we need to reconsider this way of rewarding )

                Second , and this is an important one ,companies, because of their sheer vastness end up with poor decision taking (explanation on request but consider :  info-filtering,alienation, nepotism, fraud ,etc.)  on operations, investments etc.( examples are legio !! , JP Morgan Chase, Olympia, … and actually ALL COMPANIES which feel the need for “CHANGE” or suffer exuberant losses due to this …)

This will leave them with the need for MORE MANAGEMENT … creating maybe a temporally better situation but doing worse in the long run . (explanation again:  alienation, nepotism, fraud ,etc.)

(so #2 YES we need te re-engineer management in companies in function, structure, schooling etc) .

To get to that “Oligarchy”- thing…apart from some rules  and laws that surely are built for less morally accepted purposes ( I mean fit for one) I will give you a simple example.

Buy a new car. …

I’m sure you just had  a couple of potential cars in your head popping up. And probably from those few you ended up with one or two.

Is it a Porsche ? Ferrari ? Audi? Or maybe a Truck? Or an Ambulance ? or a SUV ? Firetruck ? what I do know is that not many of you will have exactly  the same car in mind as anyone else .

Why I gave you this exercise is simple, you all will have different ways of filtering your ideas and requirements. AND THAT IS JUST THE REASON THAT DECISIONS GET CORUMPTED AND POOR .

If I would tell you : get me a sports car,two seat, reliable , red, with engine in the back, a good chance I’ll end up with that Porsche !
But I could also end up with a Yugo...

The #3 to keep in mind is that PEOPLE will filter out the information that THEY want, and will be based on THEIR personal subjective opinion.

Ask the same question at the company ONE and TWO ‘ s  less paid workers , they’ll probably end up with a solid family car as for the top management they will end up with a top ranked BMW or Mercedes or whatever. So why would it be different in company or society decision taking ?

And this is what , for me ,oligarchy is.

“It is the perception that  a small elite group is taking decisions for their own  benefit, but is actually the result of taking decisions with the wrong kind of parameters and mindset, due to different standards, moral values and operational experience and a focus-inversion on what result and cause is. ( more explanation on request … of course)

Government, crowd intelligence, this is why ...

"If you do things for me, without me you do things against me" M. Gandhi

I cannot explain in a fiew words what this means, but gladly I will me...

22 May 2012

PV,Ex,Link : JP morgan chase, Vatican, and EU , different but the same

Mr Stiglitz, nobelprize winner economics,  wrote an article called "After Austerity".

Below some parts of the article, I underlined the parts that are important and support my vision/statements.

Companies as well as governments should deal with all the issues that provoke weak decision taking, ...ask me how and what they are, essay is in the make, presentations on "Redefining management , excellence by default, etc. can be given on request.

 Please read the entire article of Mr Stiglitz on :

NEW YORK – This year’s annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund made clear that Europe and the international community remain rudderless when it comes to economic policy. Financial leaders, from finance ministers to leaders of private financial institutions, reiterated the current mantra: the crisis countries have to get their houses in order, reduce their deficits, bring down their national debts, undertake structural reforms, and promote growth. Confidence, it was repeatedly said, needs to be restored.
It is a little precious to hear such pontifications from those who, at the helm of central banks, finance ministries, and private banks, steered the global financial system to the brink of ruinand created the ongoing mess. Worse, seldom is it explained how to square the circle. How can confidence be restored as the crisis economies plunge into recession? How can growth be revived when austerity will almost surely mean a further decrease in aggregate demand, sending output and employment even lower?.....
Europe’s single-minded focus on austerity is a result of a misdiagnosis of its problems. Greece overspent, but Spain and Ireland had fiscal surpluses and low debt-to-GDP ratios before the crisis. Giving lectures about fiscal prudence is beside the point. Taking the lectures seriously –  even adopting tight budget frameworks – can be counterproductive. Regardless of whether Europe’s problems are temporary or fundamental – the eurozone, for example, is far from an “optimal” currency area, and tax competition in a free-trade and free-migration area can erode a viable state – austerity will make matters worse.........
So many economies are vulnerable to natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis – that adding a man-made disaster is all the more tragic. But that is what Europe is doing. Indeed, its leaders’ willful ignorance of the lessons of the past is criminal.
The pain that Europe, especially its poor and young, is suffering is unnecessary. Fortunately, there is an alternative. But delay in grasping it will be very costly, and Europe is running out of time.

PV : Revolution ! Revolution, I say !

Greece is on it’s way to total chaos, the world is on the same path  !! (Excuse me the dramatization)
But seriously, who cares for the moment, and even better, who is willing to do something about it ?
Those “occupy”-people? The poor, most affected people ? Government? Banks? Intellectuals? Police? …. Get real ! If you see how the Greek are reacting on their misery ( they aren’t really )  , I guess “the establishment” is  ok for the moment….
As long as we are not dying we’re fine ! (or so we react) But I can promise you this, the pressure is building, fuel is heated, the dynamite is being stacked, (and the knifes of the guillotine sharpened again)  and as we have seen in the Arab Spring  (and in ALL other revolutions…)  it will only take a spark, an ignition, a tilt over the tipping point, to unify the crowd into total and complete rage, maybe in a couple of regions, or in one country, but it will start, because if the people whom we turn to for guidance, for order and rules, fail, the only obvious solution is to take over, ….I hope it will be without bloodshed and for the better…. ‘cause even that is not sure… as history shows ....
And the saddest point? There is no need for frustration, for destabilization, it takes just another mindset (and RICH PEOPLE WILL STAY RICH, …if that’s your worst concern …) ask me why …and I’ll reply .

EX : Crowd-intelligence, a free of charge asset : an example

My tool plugs-in on the free of charge asset in companies, some countries even use it for very important issues in politics such as a constitution, ..Dangerous? Or highly efficient? An example of how in Iceland, contact me if you want more information on aplying this in your company ( or country :-) )  !
Iceland | Crowdsourcing a new constitution
BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, June 15 2011
In the past few years Iceland, a small island closer to Greenland than to Europe, has been known mostly for the collapse of its economic system and for the eruption of its volcanoes.
But despite the very difficult situation, the country firmly believes in public participation and in the power of social media to be *the* medium to better shape it. Now its government has decided to ask its citizens to share ideas on the new constitution, or “Charta”, for the country and to use social media to collect and organize ideas from them.
The “crowdsourcing body in charge” is a council of 25 members elected by popular vote from a field of 522 candidates over the age of 18. The process has been shaped from the start to involve people from the start and throughout the whole procedure, as reported by the Guardian:
In creating the new document, the council has been posting draft clauses every week since the project launched in April. The public can comment underneath or join a discussion on the council's Facebook page. The council also has a Twitter account, a YouTube page where interviews with its members are regularly posted, and a Flickr account containing pictures of the 25 members at work, all intended to maximise interaction with citizens.
[...]The crowdsourcing follows a national forum last year where 950 randomly selected people spent a day discussing the constitution. If the committee has its way the draft bill, due to be ready at the end of July, will be put to a referendum without any changes imposed by parliament – so it will genuinely be a document by the people, for the people.
The council is basing its work on a 700-page report prepared by a committee that took into account the recommendations of the National Forum.
Recommendations need to be approved by local staff before being passed on to the council and posted online for discussion, but then, when approved by the council, they are added to the draft of the document.
The process is taking place in one of the most computer-literate countries in the world. As ABC News noted, “two-thirds of Icelanders are on Facebook, so the constitutional council's weekly meetings are broadcast live on the social networking site as well as on the council's website”.
Iceland: a story of participation
"To me, it has long been clear that a comprehensive review of the constitution would only be carried out with the direct participation of the Icelandic people"
Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

After the collapse of the banks, Wikileaks burst onto the scene, publishing documents that exposed the corruption of people that profited from their connections with Iceland’s Kaupthing Bank.
The banking crisis that brought down the Icelandic economy, paradoxically created space for opportunities: the scandal made the Icelandic government decide to adopt a new and more open way to legislate in order to create a better relationship with citizens, outraged by the corruption of their country.
One of the steps was to start working with Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, who became an advisor to the Icelandic government on the draft of a law that aims to create a media haven for freedom of information and expression, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI).
The IMMI caught the attention of the world and was widely covered by European newspapers, also because the proposal was adopted unanimously by Parliament one year ago. It is expected to became a piece of legislation by mid-2012 (in a set of 13 different laws).
Now, the “crowdsourcing for a constitution” process seems to be an extension of Iceland’s willingness to try new ways of doing things.
But will it succeed in giving Icelanders a feeling of being part of a new start for their troubled country?
It is legitimate to have doubts but also hope, as Curt Hopkins points out at ReadWriteWeb:
It is far from guaranteed that this process will give Icelanders a sense of investment in, and responsibility for, the new constitution, and whether it protects against the kind of walled-off and disconnected government that allowed all the major Icelandic banks to fail. But, given the country's needs, its recent history, its ancient history and its extraordinary level of online participation, it is surely worth a try.

21 May 2012

EX : Hierarchical info filtering,Nobelprice winner, Stiglitz (unconsciously) supports my statement

Vele economieën zijn kwetsbaar voor natuurrampen: aardbevingen, overstromingen, wervelstormen, tsunamis – des te tragischer is een ramp die door mensen wordt gemaakt”...
”Indien de euro overleeft, zal het tenkoste zijn van hoge werkloosheid en enorm lijden, vooral in de landen in crisis”. "Met als gevolg dat het meest waardevolle bezit van een maatschappij, zijn menselijk kapitaal, verspild wordt, en zelfs vernietigd. Jonge mensen die lange tijd een deftige job missen – en de jeugdwerkloosheid in sommige landen nadert of overstijgt de 50 procent en was reeds onaanvaardbaar hoog sedert 2008 – geraken vervreemd. Wanneer ze uiteindelijk werk vinden zal het aan een veel lager loon zijn”.
Dit zijn enkele uittreksels uit het artikel 'After Austerity' van prof Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University, voormalig vice-voorzitter van de Wereldbank en winnaar van de Nobelprijs Economie 2001) van 7 mei op de website Project Syndicate - A World of Ideas.
Zijn artikel is een aanklacht tegen het domme Europese besparingsbeleid ('austerity' laat zich moeilijk vertalen, het betekent letterlijk 'gestrengheid', de vertaling 'besparingen' is niet helemaal correct maar is wel de term die in het Nederlands meest gebruikt wordt, nvdr), omdat groei - waar iedereen nu wel om roept - nooit kan voortvloeien uit verminderde vraag, waar immers dalende productie op volgt en dus meer werkloosheid. Europa, zo zegt hij, is niet eens in zo'n slechte fiscale toestand (hij bedoelt dat de overheidstekorten niet zo dramatisch zijn als wordt voorgesteld). De schuldenberg is in de VS in verhouding tot het bruto nationaal product immers nog groter.
In enkele zinnen legt Stiglitz uit hoe de macro-economische crisis door een vicieuze cirkel toeneemt: "werkloosheid, en de vrees dat ze zich gaat uibreiden, duwt de lonen omlaag, dus de inkomens, en de consumptie – en dus de totale vraag. Uitstel van gezinsvorming – jonge Amerikanen bijvoorbeeld, gaan in toenemende mate weer bij hun ouders wonen – drukt de woning- en huurprijzen en leidt tot nog meer huisuitzettingen. Zelfs (deel)staten met een begroting in evenwicht worden nu verplicht te lenen omdat hun belastingsinkomsten dalen. Hoe kan groei gestimuleerd worden wanneer strenge soberheid haast zeker een verdere afname van de totale vraag betekent, die productie en werkgelegheid nog lager duwt”.

Wat zou Europa dan wel moeten doen?

"Geld lenen en dat weer uitlenen ten dienste van uitgaven die groei en werkgelegenheid bevorderen. De kosten van het schuldbeheer zouden dalen. De Europese Centrale Bank (ECB) en de Europese Investeringsbank (EIB) moeten meer uitlenen, vooral aan kleine en middelgrote ondernemingen, die de belangrijkste bron zijn van jobcreatie".
In een recent editoriaal pleit The New York Times voor het aanbieden van euro-obligaties. Daar moet Merkel volgens de krant toe verplicht worden. Met deze obligaties zou de enorme spaarpot van veel Europeanen kunnen aangesproken worden. Ermee speculeren op de beurs zou zinloos zijn, omdat Europa ze in hun geheel zou waarborgen, dit in tegenstelling tot eventuele speculatie tegen staatsobligaties van individuele landen.
De nieuwe Franse president François Hollande gaat dat idee opnieuw op de agenda plaatsen. Meteen voegen journalisten daar echter aan toe dat “probleemlanden te gemakkelijk toegang tot teveel kredieten zouden krijgen”. (Die 'stoute' probleemlanden moeten daar volgens mij voor gestraft worden).

Paul Krugman op 17 mei

Krugman was ook laureaat voor de Nobelprijs Economie. Zijn artikels wijzen al maandenlang op de waanzin van het huidige Europese beleid. De redding van de euro "zal vereisen dat de Europese leiders, in ’t bijzonder Duitsland en de Europese Centrale Bank, helemaal anders beginnen te handelen dan ze de voorbije jaren deden. Ze moeten stoppen met moraliseren ('wie boven zijn stand leeft moet gestraft worden').
"De Griekse kiezers die begrijpelijkerwijze kwaad zijn op het beleid dat 22% werklozen heeft opgeleverd – meer dan 50% bij de jongeren – hebben zich gekeerd tegen de partijen die hun dit beleid hebben opgelegd. De ECB moet zijn obsessie met prijsstabiliteit laten varen ('inflatie tenhoogste 2%') en moet gedurende meerdere jaren 3 of 4 % inflatie aanvaarden, zelfs aanmoedigen en met nog een hoger inflatiecijfer in Duitsland. De ECB en de Duitse regering verfoeien dat idee echter”.

Waarom handelen de Europese leiders zo?

Stiglitz, Krugman, De Grauwe, ze noemen de Europese Commissie (EC) en de ECB kortzichtig, dom en misdadig. Ze reageren zoals een professor die tijdens een examen foute antwoorden krijgt van een student. Angela Merkel is natuurlijk helemaal niet dom. Ze wordt omringd door ministers en raadgevers die waarschijnlijk de standpunten van deze Nobelprijswinnaars wel kennen. Dat geldt ook voor Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy en de Europese commissarissen. Die hebben een leger van raadgevers die uit de financiële middens komen en diploma's hebben van de beste handelsscholen.
Er moet dus een andere verklaring zijn voor hun beslissingen over inkrimping van de overheidsuitgaven, die ambtenaren, werklozen, sociale wetgeving, pensioenen, onderwijs, openbare voorzieningen...het gelag doen betalen. 'Fiscale consolidatie' wordt dat genoemd. In feite is het collectieve verarming.
Het artikel van Stiglitz geeft een aanwijzing: "Wie uiteindelijk werk vindt, zal een veel lager loon krijgen". Dit is al een feit in Portugal, Ierland, Italië, Griekenland en Spanje (de PIIGS-landen). Zelfs in Duitsland is de succesvolle export van de laatste jaren onder meer te danken aan de 'working poor' met maandlonen van 800 euro of nog minder. Hier bij ons horen we elke week opnieuw dat de loonkosten te hoog zijn, dat "onze competitiviteit" eronder lijdt.

Meer winst, maar niet voor de werkende bevolking

Mooi discours levert dat op: "De fundamentele oplossing is dus te zoeken op de arbeidsmarkt. We moeten die soepeler maken met meer mobiliteit en grotere loonflexilibiliteit" (Gert Peersman, prof UGent in De Morgen). Immers: "Lagere loonlasten vertalen zich daarna in lagere prijzen, zelfs met verhoogde btw blijft de koopkracht voor de Griekse burger dan constant".
`Wie dat gelooft steunt op theoretische modellen die door de feiten tegengesproken worden. Lagere lonen zorgen voor hogere bedrijfswinsten, dat is zonneklaar. Dàt zou wel eens het echte doel kunnen zijn van de Europese Commissie, de banksector en vele experten. Maar nee, in ons land zitten de werkgevers met die vervelende collectieve arbeidsovereenkomsten die het moeilijker maken om aan loonmatiging te doen. En dan is er nog die vervloekte indexkoppeling!
Stiglitz spreekt ook over ondragelijke werkloosheid en 'lijden'. Nu is iedereen bezorgd over de werklozen. De oplossing die veel politici, de patroonsorganisaties en de financiële sector hiervoor zien, is echter dat de werklozen aan het werk moeten worden gezet. Zoniet volgen er sancties: van verlaging van de uitkering tot schorsing. De werkloosheid moet dus opgelost worden door de werklozen zelf, zo eenvoudig is dat. Een O-VLD-politica zei onlangs: "Waarom scheppen de mensen hun eigen werk niet? Ze dragen toch ook verantwoordelijkheid."

Het probleem is werkloosheid én armoede

Stiglitz is bezorgd over het lijden van werklozen en van mensen die onder de armoedegrens leven. In de crisislanden stijgt hun aantal snel. Niet iedereen ligt daar wakker van. 'Armoede? Die is er toch altijd geweest? Die mensen hebben veel aan zichzelf te danken.
Ken je dat discours? Gelakte nagels en drie TV-toestellen, elk jaar op reis. Alle dagen horen en lezen we het. Voor deze categorie gaan de grote beleggers, de CEO's en bankdirecteuren hun fiscaal en economisch beleid niet wijzigen. Er is toch nog het OCMW?

Het is een kwestie van waarden

Het ziet er naar uit dat de professoren Stiglitz, Krugman en De Grauwe een andere waardenschaal van prioriteiten en maatschappijvisie hanteren dan de Europese leiders. Bij deze laatsten gaat het over de belangen van de bedrijfswereld, waaronder de banken (die zo zwaar te lijden hebben, nietwaar!) tegenover de belangen van de gewone mensen.
Paul De Grauwe beschrijft in een gedocumenteerd artikel de interne devaluatie die heeft plaatsgegrepen in Griekenland, Ierland, Spanje, Portugal (de PIIGS-landen). Hij schrijft: "Ze ging gepaard met grote nadelen inzake verlies aan omzet en werkgelegenheid. Bovendien liggen nog meer verlies van productie en werk in 't vooruitzicht. Echter, de 'rijke', surpluslanden hebben geen interne revaluatie (stijging van de lonen) doorgevoerd, d.w.z. de asymmetrie wordt geheel bekostigd door de arme landen. De achteruitgang van de Europese economie zal verder gaan". De Grauwe besluit: "De Europese Commissie is de agent geworden van de rijke ('creditor') landen; hun tyrannie zal niet snel verdwijnen".
Zelfs in een worst-case-scenario hebben de echte bazen hun schaapjes op het droge. Zelfs indien de consumptie in elkaar stort, de fabrieken sluiten, de beurskoersen kelderen zullen ZIJ geen boterham minder eten. Betogingen, stakingen? Die zijn er al zoveel geweest. Die verminderen zelfs de loonkost! Indien het uit de hand loopt hebben we nog altijd de politie, desnoods het leger.

Het gevaarlijke idee van François Hollande

Daar is nu wel de nieuwe Franse president François Hollande, en Obama, zelfs de Britse eerste minister Cameron en de Deense eerste minister Thorning-Schmidt, de Japanners, de Chinezen, en de Braziliaanse president Dilma Roussef: die begrijpen dat een Europese ineenstorting ook voor hun economie ongewenst is. We moeten hopen dat ze Angela en al de financiële experten het mes op de keel zetten.
Hollande heeft alvast een idee dat 'de banken schrik aanjaagt'. Hij belooft om het bedrag dat Franse spaarders belastingvrij en met een staatsgarantie onderbrengen bij de al 200 jaar bestaande staatsholding Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) te verdubbelen. Tevens stelt hij een aantrekkelijke rente in het vooruitzicht die hoger ligt dan de inflatie.

De nachtmerrie van de privébanken: een actieve overheidsbank

Momenteel mag er op een spaarboekje 'Livret A' per persoon maximaal 15.300 euro staan en op een boekje 'duurzame ontwikkeling' tot 6.000 euro. De rente bedraagt op beide boekjes 2,25 procent. Hollande wil met dit geld, dat bij de CDC wordt ondergebracht, infrastructuurprojecten financieren zonder dat dit een weerslag heeft op de Franse begroting en de overheidsschuld. Eind maart beheerde de CDC 295,1 miljard euro deposito's. Dit geld dient onder meer voor de financiering van de bouw van spoorwegen, ziekenhuizen en sociale huisvesting.
Waarom jaagt dat de bankensector schrik aan? Omdat het miljarden zijn die de bankiers zouden kunnen gebruiken, tiens. Dat zeggen ze zelf. Zo wordt het nog eens duidelijk om welke keuzes het gaat: nog meer geld voor de financiële sector (die in meerdere landen de overheid al gepluimd heeft) of integendeel meer geld voor maatschappelijke projecten ten bate van de bevolking.

De Algemene Spaar- en Lijfrente Kas (ASLK), weet je nog?

De CDC doet mij met weemoed terugdenken aan onze goede oude openbare bank ALSK-CGER (geprivatiseerd tot Fortis). Met medewerking van bepaalde socialisten werd ze verkocht aan de privésector (Heer, vergeef ons want we wisten niet wat we deden), om roemloos en vergeten tenonder te gaan samen en opgeslokt te worden door BNPParibas

12 May 2012

PV : Management is a tool

Management is the support tool of a company.µ

There is just a smal part of management that is really setting the company policy and direction (the top 5 let's say). All the rest  is support, looking for opportunities, efficiency and helping the workforce to able them to get to value adding! ... don't tell the workers what to do, just tell them what you want and then support them with all they need !
All management should just guide, not lead !

PV : Understand first, change later ! A bottom-up perspective, free of charge…

Understand first, change later ! A bottom-up perspective, free of charge…

So many things we want to see changed.

The way we work, the way we are paid, the way we treat environment, what we do with our time, how our children grow up, politics, economy, and so on …

If it could be done with a flick of the finger we would probable do it today (I hope) if we could do it in a 3-5 year plan we would say it’s impossible (and I say we can) , and so we muddle on a bit.

We , as a joined society , are ok with mediocrity, with “good enough” , with having our share and not caring about anything or anybody else.

Yes, I’m saying we are all egoistic, self-centered, lazy ,cowards, me included  !

It’s a fact , and if you look with an open mind and look at the details you’ll see, as I see.

Even the most social people, holy men, social workers, firemen, Buddhist monks really all of us.

But for the record , it’s ok, that’s human nature! If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs , that’s what I mean.  

And this is exactly how we function in an organization as well! First us , than the rest (company, colleagues, not in that particular order.)

When we work in an organization (small and big, which for me is the same because of my fractal thinking) ,we tend to fall back in different , lower, levels when we are confronted with some things we are not used to…So procedures should work with this given fact and not try to punish or neglect these point. And “softskilling”  can help but, please, there are better ways for getting there,.

Have company goals, mission statement and values that are clear to everybody and ACT ALWAYS ACCORDINGLY , don’t stray, don’t devalue , don’t neglect, don’t ignore , and if you need to (because there is a NEED to) communicate that, tell your people why, how and what. I promise you, they will understand… ! and if you wonder the money (budgeting) is the first everybody sees !

Don’t think workers are dumb, even the most idiotic person in your company is going to know when he gets lied to or when he has to do things that are really inefficient ! That’s where you  get structural laziness , alienation and anomy. Where you will provoke conflict, I have a concept named “The heroic fireman” , ask me what it is, I’ll explain, until then , …..

11 May 2012

EX : Focus inversion : "The little Dutch Boy Strategy"

An example of focusing on the result in stead of the cause "Focus-inversion and some "Good news Show" as well  : Harvard Business Review

Apple and the "Little Dutch Boy" Strategy

Apple is the latest company to execute what I like to call the "Little Dutch Boy" approach to CSR strategy. The apocryphal Dutch legend tells of a boy who, upon seeing a trickle of sea water coming through a hole in a dyke, pokes his finger in to stem the flow.
Many companies have taken a similar approach to CSR. Instead of acknowledging the rising tide of social expectations on the other side of their corporate PR bulwark, executives respond reactively to each individual activist or community complaint. Apple is the latest example of this. The story begins in 2006 and continues to this day.
Accustomed to being perceived as the forward-thinking company that could do no wrong, Apple was blindsided by a 2006 Greenpeace sustainability ranking that placed it near the bottom of computer manufacturers in terms of environmental performance. The response from Apple was defensive and ham-handed with executives calling Greenpeace's work "bullshit." However, in 2007 Steve Jobs belatedly poked his finger in the dyke by posting an "open letter" laying out the case that Apple wasn't an eco-laggard.
Fast forward to 2009 and the news that a Foxconn worker in Shenzhen China committed suicide after losing an iPhone4 prototype. The harbinger was ignored and 14 additional suicides followed in 2010. Then came an 86-page university report documenting the conditions in Foxconn factories as inhumane and abusive. After sustained pressure, Apple was again compelled to stick a finger in the dyke and commission a study by the Fair Labor Association that this year confirmed abuses. Last month, an agreement was announced between Apple and Foxconn to improve working conditions.
Now Apple has been challenged on the environmental-friendliness of its cloud. Last month Greenpeace published a report entitled "How Clean Is Your Cloud" and singled out Apple for having some of the dirtiest cloud computing data centers. Unfortunately for Apple, it apparently had the chance to plug this leak before it sprung. The company claims to have data that could show the environmental performance of their cloud is better than Greenpeace estimates. But for whatever reason, Apple failed to stem the bad publicity.
With so many holes in its CSR dyke, Apple is running out of fingers. The only solution now is to admit that the leaks are caused by a tidal wave of social expectations about corporate responsibility, not one-off anomalies. Apple needs to get serious and commit to a comprehensive CSR strategy. For a number of reasons Apple has been able to avoid this step up until now.
Apple has benefited from a Teflon reputation fostered by the public's love of its products, its iconoclastic brand promise and its charismatic leader, Steve Jobs. But while reputations have inertia, like Wile E. Coyote they can't defy gravity forever.
Apple's success means it is now the biggest kid on the block. Having displaced Exxon, Apple can no longer claim to be the "Think Different" David battling the Goliath of Microsoft. In fact, for many people Apple has become Microsoft, a quasi-monopolistic behemoth. As that perception takes hold, activist and competitive complaints against Apple's impacts will begin to stick in the public's mind.
With the passing of Steve Jobs, Apple has lost its Chief Reputation Officer and its most eloquent spokesperson. Jobs was able to plug the company's reputational holes single-handedly. But as many other companies have found, the Little Dutch Boy approach to social responsibility can't hold back the rising tide anymore. Instead, Apple needs to get out there and show that they are not only innovating to serve their customers, but that they are innovating to serve society and the planet as well.

Ex : JP Morgan Chase

Another example of Hiërarchical info filtering (and other) which leads to bad decisiontaking

JPMorgan Discloses $2 Billion in Trading Losses

JPMorgan Chase, which emerged from the financial crisis as the nation’s biggest bank, disclosed on Thursday that it had lost more than $2 billion in trading, a surprising stumble that promises to escalate the debate over whether regulations need to rein in trading by banks.
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan, blamed “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment” for the loss, which stemmed from a hedging strategy that backfired.
The trading in that hedge roiled markets a month ago, when rumors started circulating of a JPMorgan trader in London whose bets were so big that he was nicknamed “the London Whale” and “Voldemort,” after the Harry Potter villain.
For a bank that earned nearly $19 billion last year, the trading loss, which could go higher, will not cripple it in any way. Still it demonstrates how a market blunder can shake even a financial giant that celebrates its “fortress balance sheet.” Close

It is a rare blow to the reputation of Mr. Dimon, 56, a native New Yorker known for his hands-on management style and a confident swagger. After successfully steering his bank through the market turmoil of 2008 and the recession, he is perhaps the most influential bank executive in the country — and a vocal critic of the efforts to write rules under the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul.
The setback for JPMorgan may strengthen the hand of regulators in Washington who are now writing the rules for Dodd-Frank — in particular the Volcker Rule, which restricts banks from trading with their own money.
JPMorgan’s setback “casts doubt on Jamie’s opposition and adds fuel to anyone who has been pushing for greater regulation,” said Mike Mayo, an analyst with Credit Agricole Securities. “Oh, how the mighty have fallen.”
Throughout the debate around the Volcker Rule, which is named after Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, Mr. Dimon has said the rule goes too far. Mr. Dimon told CNBC earlier this year that under the Volcker Rule, “if you want to be trading, you have to have a lawyer and a psychiatrist sitting next to you determining what was your intent every time you did something.”
Questions over whether banks have been engaging in such trading for themselves while calling it “market-making” or “hedging” came into focus last month, when the reports emerged that a trading unit of JPMorgan in London was taking such large positions in the name of hedging that they were distorting the market.
At the time, Mr. Dimon played down concerns about that trading, in what the bank calls its chief investment office, telling analysts in an April 13 conference call that it was “a complete tempest in a teapot.”
In a hastily organized conference call with analysts on Thursday, Mr. Dimon sounded more humble, saying that “egregious mistakes” were made. “They were self-inflicted and this is not how we want to run a business.”
Yet while conceding that the bank had “egg on its face,” Mr. Dimon refused to concede that the losses necessitated a stronger regulatory framework. Although he did says that it “plays right into the hands of a whole bunch of pundits out there.”
And he defended the trading unit, saying that “the C.I.O. has done a great job for a long extended period of time.”
The troubles are expected to weigh on the bank’s broader earnings. For example, the corporate group, which includes the chief investment office, is now expected to lose $800 million in the second quarter, the company said in the filing. Previously, JPMorgan estimated that the group would report net income of about $200 million.
Shares of JPMorgan tumbled 6.7 percent in after-hours trading. Its Wall Street rivals were also down sharply.
The $2 billion loss came from a complicated trading strategy that involved derivatives, financial instruments that derive their value from the prices of securities and other assets. JPMorgan said the derivatives trades were part of a hedge, meaning they were set up to offset potential losses on the bank’s large holdings of bonds and loans. But, in the sort of nightmare situation that bankers dread, the ostensible hedge backfired, producing losses of its own.
Since the financial crisis, several financial institutions have been rocked by risky trading, although under very different circumstances. At UBS, $2 billion in trading losses was attributed to a rogue trader, while MF Global collapsed not because of its bet on troubled European sovereign debt, but as a result of a loss of confidence that trade produced.
But JPMorgan’s trade was not so obviously fraught with risk. It produced large losses even without extreme movements in the derivatives markets or underlying bond markets. Indexes that track derivatives tied to corporate bonds have recently increased — reflecting a gloomier outlook for corporate bonds — but the move has not been jarring.
JPMorgan likely structured the trade in such a way that effectively magnified losses. Specifically, the bank bought insurance against losses on corporate debt through credit derivatives that increase in value if the underlying creditworthiness of companies is perceived to have deteriorated. But JPMorgan stumbled when it tried to modify that trade by also making an opposite bet with credit derivatives. Mr. Dimon said that the strategy “to reduce the credit hedge” was “poorly constructed and poorly monitored.”
The trades took place in the chief investment office of JPMorgan. These big trades are designed as hedges. Last month big derivatives trades executed in London by the unit appeared to be throwing markets out of kilter. The trades were reportedly put on by “the London whale” — a French trader, Bruno Iksil. On Thursday, Mr. Dimon said losses on the trade could grow.
The loss-making trades will further stoke the debate over whether banks make big bets under the guise of hedging. An old market adage says the best way to hedge is to simply sell an asset, rather than offset it with potentially dangerous derivatives. The Volcker Rule attempts to distinguish between true hedging and trading.
The losses will also raise enduring questions about JPMorgan’s ability to manage its risks. When it reported first-quarter earnings in April, it released a metric of risk-taking in the chief investment office that made it look as if the unit was taking risks in line with other parts of the bank. But on Thursday, the bank released a new measure of risk-taking that was nearly twice as high.
“JPMorgan Chase C.E.O. Jamie Dimon has been a relentless critic of financial reform,” said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, which supports tougher regulation of banks. The surprise loss, he said, “proves him wrong.”
Michael J. de la Merced contributed reporting.

10 May 2012

Ex : Berlusconization (Net-not-working)

How bad networking gets a Nation into trouble, for companies this is also true !!! Networking is a potential threat !

IF ANYBODY is having a good recession, it is the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Italy is certainly suffering: the IMF expects GDP to fall by 4.4% this year, a bigger drop than in Britain, France or Spain. But Mr Berlusconi remains significantly more popular than most other European leaders. His approval rating this month, measured by IPR Marketing for La Repubblica’s website, actually rose to 56%.
Part of the explanation is that, after more than a decade of underperformance relative to the European Union, Italians are used to economic distress. And since their banks were less enterprising (or reckless) than those in America and Britain, none has collapsed so far, sparing Mr Berlusconi the politically lethal fallout from using taxpayers’ money to save the hides of rich financiers. Yet his approval rating had been slipping—until the earthquake that hit L’Aquila on April 6th.
Mr Berlusconi’s response to the earthquake seems to explain the latest uptick. He spent almost a week in the disaster zone and even offered to accommodate some survivors in his own homes. On April 23rd he went a daring step further, saying he would switch the venue of the G8 rich-country summit in July to L’Aquila, partly so as to divert funds towards the city’s reconstruction. On the same day he announced a seemingly generous €8 billion ($10 billion) in aid for the earthquake zone (it has since emerged that this will be spread over no less than 22 years).

Mr Berlusconi’s response to the earthquake highlights another factor that his supporters claim explains his poll ratings. As one minister puts it, “this is the first government since the second world war to give Italians decisive leadership of a kind that is entirely normal in Europe.” That contrasts with his previous period in power in 2001-06, when he had to deal with repeated internal revolts. Many were caused by the centrist Union of Christian Democrats, which split from the centre-right coalition before the April 2008 election that returned the right to power.
Mr Berlusconi’s present government is far more homogenous. In March its two biggest components—his own Forza Italia and the National Alliance, which grew out of the neo-fascist movement—united in a single entity, the People of Freedom. Of the two other coalition parties, only the Northern League has the parliamentary clout to bring the government down.
To Mr Berlusconi’s critics, the explanation of his popularity is quite different. It is that he is reaping the benefit of a long-term influence on the views of his compatriots that no contemporary politician can rival. Every Italian under 30 has grown to political maturity in a country where Mr Berlusconi and his family control half the television output, one of four national newspapers, one of two news magazines and the biggest publishing house.
His hold on the media has changed attitudes and even the meaning of words. When he entered politics in 1994, few gave credence to his claim to be a victim of conniving communist judges; now it is widely believed. Fifteen years ago, an azzurro represented Italy in international sporting competitions and a moderato was a centrist. Today, an azzurro is somebody who represents Mr Berlusconi in parliament; a moderato anybody who votes for him.
The subtle Berlusconisation of Italy may help to explain a trend that has swept the country in the past 12 months. It is not only that the opposition has divided and the unions are split. It is that a conviction has gripped much of society that the prime minister will stay in power indefinitely. “I have to say that I see no alternative to Silvio Berlusconi,” declared Gabriele Muccino, a film director and one of several intellectuals and artists who have recently voiced similar opinions. This is ironic in a country whose politicians spent 15 years working towards a two-party system. It augurs ill for future economic reforms, in which Mr Berlusconi has shown little interest. And it is also troubling in any democracy, especially when seen in the context of the prime minister’s own words and actions.
His new party is as undemocratic in its form as Forza Italia was. He was acclaimed, not elected, leader at a founding congress last month that empowered him to appoint the executive. Mr Berlusconi routinely denigrates the judiciary and, since returning to power, has become increasingly dismissive of the legislature as well. His government’s use of procedural devices to cut short parliamentary debate has even been criticised by his ally, Gianfranco Fini, former leader of the National Alliance and now speaker of the lower-house Chamber of Deputies. Mr Berlusconi has sought to justify this by arguing that the myriad checks and balances in the system make Italy ungovernable. But, as President Giorgio Napolitano retorted recently, such views pointed to “authoritarian solutions”. After all, the system was put in place precisely to prevent the return of a dictator like Benito Mussolini.
Few believe that there is a serious risk of reverting to those dark days. But several recent books have highlighted the extent of Mr Berlusconi’s ascendancy and asked questions about how he intends to exploit it. Massimo Giannini, author of one, argues that his aim is “not a dictatorship in the classic sense, but…a modern form of post-ideological ‘totalitarianism’”.
The most powerful reason to worry comes in Mr Berlusconi’s own words. At his new party’s inaugural congress, he reminded the 6,000 or so delegates that “sovereignty belongs to the people”. But he also claimed that his was “the only party that defines the identity of our people”. In fact, he said, “we have to be a people even more than a party”. That smacks of pure populism.
Mr Berlusconi’s supporters dismiss all such misgivings, insisting that his sole long-term objective is the presidency (albeit, perhaps, after a constitutional reform to make it more powerful). On April 25th, the day when Italians mark the 1945 Allied liberation, the prime minister offered support for the view that he aspires to lead the nation, not just the right. He took part for the first time in the celebrations. Later he withdrew a controversial bill that would have given honours and pensions to Mussolini’s diehard militia.
But Mr Berlusconi also took the opportunity to suggest that the name of the holiday should be changed. It should not be the day of liberation but of freedom. As in, for example, the People of Freedom?

EX : (Net (not) working) "THE VATICAN "


Corruption scandal shakes Vatican as internal letters leaked,

VATICAN CITY | Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:20pm EST

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.

The show "The Untouchables" on the respected private television network La 7 Wednesday night showed what it said were several letters that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was then deputy-governor of Vatican City, sent to superiors, including Pope Benedict, in 2011 about the corruption.

The Vatican issued a statement Thursday criticizing the "methods" used in the journalistic investigation. But it confirmed that the letters were authentic by expressing "sadness over the publication of reserved documents."

As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state's gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure.

Vigano, currently the Vatican's ambassador in Washington, said in the letters that when he took the job in 2009 he discovered a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices.

In one letter, Vigano tells the pope of a smear campaign against him (Vigano) by other Vatican officials who wanted him transferred because they were upset that he had taken drastic steps to save the Vatican money by cleaning up its procedures.

"Holy Father, my transfer right now would provoke much disorientation and discouragement in those who have believed it was possible to clean up so many situations of corruption and abuse of power that have been rooted in the management of so many departments," Vigano wrote to the pope on March 27, 2011.

In another letter to the pope on April 4, 2011, Vigano says he discovered the management of some Vatican City investments was entrusted to two funds managed by a committee of Italian bankers "who looked after their own interests more than ours."


Vigano says in the same letter that in one single financial transaction in December, 2009, "they made us lose two and a half million dollars."

The program interviewed a man it identified as a member of the bankers' committee who said Vigano had developed a reputation as a "ballbreaker" among companies that had contracts with the Vatican, because of his insistence on transparency and competition.

The man's face was blurred on the transmission and his voice was distorted in order to conceal his identity.

In one of the letters to the pope, Vigano said Vatican-employed maintenance workers were demoralized because "work was always given to the same companies at costs at least double compared to those charged outside the Vatican."

For example, when Vigano discovered that the cost of the Vatican's larger than life nativity scene in St Peter's Square was 550,000 euros in 2009, he chopped 200,000 euros off the cost for the next Christmas, the program said.

Even though, Vigano's cost-cutting and transparency campaign helped turned Vatican City's budget from deficit to surplus during his tenure, in 2011 unsigned articles criticizing him as inefficient appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

On March 22, 2011, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone informed Vigano that he was being removed from his position, even though it was to have lasted until 2014.

Five days later he wrote to Bertone complaining that he was left "dumbfounded" by the ouster and because Bertone's motives for his removal were identical to those published in an anonymous article published against him in Il Giornale that month.

In early April, Vigano went over Bertone's head again and wrote directly to the pope, telling him that he had worked hard to "eliminate corruption, private interests and dysfunction that are widespread in various departments."

He also tells the pope in the same letter that "no-one should be surprised about the press campaign against me" because he tried to root out corruption and had made enemies.

Despite his appeals to the pope that a transfer, even if it meant a promotion, "would be a defeat difficult for me to accept," Vigano was named ambassador to Washington in October of last year after the sudden death of the previous envoy to the United States.

In its statement, the Vatican said the journalistic investigation had treated complicated subjects in a "partial and banal way" and could take steps to defend the "honor of morally upright people" who loyally serve the Church.

The statement said that today's administration was a continuation of the "correct and transparent management that inspired Monsignor Vigano."

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

EX : Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena

This is one of my points I want to make in my essay :-) , love it when I get unpayed help :-)

SIENA, Italy | Wed May 9, 2012 4:11pm EDT

SIENA, Italy (Reuters) - Italian police searched the headquarters of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) on Wednesday, investigating whether the world's oldest bank misled regulators over its pricey 2007 purchase of smaller rival Antonveneta from Spain's Santander.

A statement from prosecutors in Siena, where Monte dei Paschi is based, said the offices of the bank's main shareholder as well as those of several Italian and foreign financial banks that had dealings with the Tuscan lender were being searched.

Sources close to the situation told Reuters police visited the Milan offices of Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and J.P. Morgan (JPM.N) as well as other banks in connection with the probe. None of those banks are under investigation, the sources said.

The sources also said police took documents from investment bank Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), one of the advisers to Monte dei Paschi during its purchase of Antonveneta, the target of a bitter cross-border takeover battle that shook Italy's traditionally closed banking system.

The searches targeted also the private homes of several past and present Monte dei Paschi executives, including former chairman Giuseppe Mussari. Sources close to the probe said four past and present executives of Monte dei Paschi had been placed under investigation.

The prosecutors' statement said the probe concerned "a series of activities that were carried out starting from 2007, at the time of the acquisition of Antonveneta bank from Spain's Santander, and that continued until 2012".

The investigation alleges possible market manipulation and obstruction of regulators in connection with raising funds for the 9 billion euro ($11.7 billion) cash acquisition of Antonveneta that stretched the bank's finances just ahead of the subprime crisis.

Santander bought Antonveneta as part of a three-way break up bid for Dutch bank ABN AMRO in a deal valuing the Italian lender at 6.6 billion euros. The Spanish bank almost immediately sold it on to Monte dei Paschi, netting a hefty gain.

Monte dei Paschi is being investigated because prosecutors believe that it did not give regulators a true picture of the repercussions on its finances of such an expensive purchase. There are also questions surrounding an unexplained sharp drop in the bank's share price earlier this year.

The Antonveneta acquisition catapulted Monte dei Paschi, advised on the deal by Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) and Mediobanca, into the big league of Italian banks and gave it a foothold in Italy's wealthy northeast.

The crisis at the bank, founded in 1472 to extend loans to the needy and still a major source of employment for the 55,000 people who live among medieval Siena's frescoed palazzi, has raised the alarm among locals.

Monte dei Paschi, with its headquarters in a 13th century fortress, is the "jewel in the crown for Siena", a prominent resident told Reuters in March as the bank's problems worsened.


Despite two capital increases since the Antonveneta purchase, the Monte dei Paschi is regarded as one of Europe's most vulnerable since it must plug a capital shortfall of 3.3 billion euros by June to meet tougher European regulatory requirements.

An investigative source told Reuters that prosecutors had started looking at the Antonveneta deal last October, at the height of the euro crisis, because of the pressure the acquisition had placed on Monte dei Paschi's finances.

"The question is whether the operation and its impact on Monte dei Paschi and its shareholders were assessed properly and whether the rules were followed and a proper picture of the situation was given to (market watchdog) Consob and the Bank of Italy," the source said.

Monte dei Paschi said the searches were connected to a 5 billion euro capital increase it carried out in 2008 to pay for Antonveneta.

A bank spokeswoman pledged "maximum collaboration" with authorities. She said the probe was focused on 1 billion euros of so-called Fresh convertible notes that the bank issued as part of its capital hike, which was underwritten by J.P. Morgan.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter said prosecutors believed Monte dei Paschi had misled the Bank of Italy, at the time headed by current European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, on the terms of the convertible notes.

Based on the information received by the bank, the regulator allowed Monte dei Paschi to calculate those notes as core Tier 1 capital, boosting its financial base, the source said.

Monte de Paschi's top shareholder, a charitable foundation with close links to Siena politicians, said prosecutors were also looking at an "anomalous" drop in the bank's shares in early January, when the stock tumbled around 26 percent in the space of a few days, hitting a record low of 0.19 euros.

Back in January the foundation was negotiating with creditors how to pay back around 1 billion euros of debts it had ran up to fund the bank's 2008 capital increase and another 2.5 billion euros cash call in 2011.

The foundation's debt was guaranteed by its shares in the bank. As the share price fell, the foundation was forced to put up more shares as collateral, at one stage giving creditors almost full control over its 49 percent stake.

A recovery in the stock price since mid-January allowed the foundation to sell down its stake and partially pay back 12 creditors, including JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Mediobanca.

Monte dei Paschi's Chief Executive Fabrizio Viola and its newly appointed Chairman Alessandro Profumo were "following the matter closely," a senior executive at the bank said outside its Siena headquarters.

News of the probe hit Monte dei Paschi's shares, which closed 7 percent lower after repeated suspensions from trade.

The foundation now holds 36.3 percent of Monte dei Paschi. It faces a May 15 deadline to agree with creditors the rescheduling of outstanding debts worth around 350 million euros.

($1 = 0.7695 euros)

(Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi, Lisa Jucca, Stefano Bernabei and Gianluca Semeraro; Writing by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Jane Merriman and Giles Elgood)