Freedom fighter

Needless to say, main topic of this week was the lady in this picture. We took enough time to discuss about her and her policy. In addition to this topic, I chose another article from leaders section.

Digital currecies
A new specie
Regulators should keep their hands off new forms of digital money as Bitcoin

Some of you might have imagined “digital currency” or ”world currency” in the internet age as this article shows. That is easy to use in internet transaction without any consideration of materials, boaders and countries. Or you have already known mobile payment of safaricom “m-PESA”. This article shows us such a “futuristic currencies” so I want to share and discuss the possibility of these currencies

(1)   Do you think bitcoin is convenient?
(2)   Can you accept bitcoin? If you say No, why?

Summary of the article
Bitcoin = latest cult currency
1)     Exist only in digital code
2)     Consists mainly of computer geeks, drug-dealers, gold bugs[i] and libertarians
3)     Wild fluctuation of the value from $20 to $200
4)     Could be useful and widely accepted currency
5)     Whose purchasing power is protected not by a central bank but by a hard limit (21m) on the number of coin that can exist.
6)     Can be used for small transaction
7)     Impossible to forge by using unique digital signature
8)     Suitable for peer to peer market[ii] such as e-bay, Alibaba and Airbnb
9)     Anonymous
10)  Regulation will needed as infrastructure (banks) supporting it
11)  Biggest risk is competition

[i] a person who opposes or criticizes the use of fiat currency and supports a return to the use of the Gold Standard[1] or some other currency system based on the value of gold and other hard assets.
[ii] All dollar transactions are cleared via the American banking system. It takes another cost between like China and Britain.


The fuel of the future

ESG in Osaka starts from this week!

Environmental lunacy(奇妙な状況) in Europe

Our Discussion
l   Do you interest in environmental problems, especially global warming?
l   Do you think wood is the fuel of the future and if so, how to promote it?
The Economist often pick up environmental issues. International society especially EU still has an interest on them. First I want ask you your interest. Secondary, I’d like to share how to facilitate renewable energies including wood based on this argument.

The Economist argument
1.        What is the most important source of renewable energy in Europe?
Wood. It accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption.

2.        Wood = renewable?
Yes. Wood can be carbon-neutral. Although whether it actually turns out to be is different matter, once EU decided to call it renewable, its usage soared. In the electricity sector, wood has various advantages (such as “co-firing”) compared to solar and wind.

3.        Money grows on trees
In the sake of public subsidies backed by alliance (greens, utilities, governments), a new sort of energy business is created and European demand will rise.  Most timber consumed in EU comes from imports. A new wood-exporting business in western Canada, the America south is booming. As a result, prices are going high and are putting pressure on companies that use wood as an input.

4.        Subsidising biomass energy = efficient way?
No. Wood produces carbon twice over in the process of making pellets and shipping. This decreased the amount of carbon saved by switching to wood. The original idea (wood=carbon-neutral) is oversimplified. In reality it depends on types of forest, trees, usage, and terms of use of the forest. EU subsidiary probably does not reduce carbon emissions and does not encourage new technologies.

Google hangouts

今週のESGは、初の東京大阪同時開催を記念して、チャレンジングな試みとしてGoogle hangouts(ビデオチャット)で東京<==>大阪をつないでみることとした。

具体的には、東京のメンバーにパソコンとポケットwifiを用意してもらい、大阪ではパソコンをカフェのwifiにつなぎ、開始時間を合わせてGoogle hangoutというサービスを使って、お互いの空間をつなぐ。これが実現すれば、議論は難しいかもしれないが、最初の挨拶ぐらいは共有できる。なにより、大阪でも東京でも同じことをしているメンバーがいるということで刺激になる。要するにTV会議だが、それを個人の集まりで最低限の設備で行おうというものである。







Can India become a great power?

Cover article of this week was India. As concerns India, we tend to focus on its economy. However this article focuses on its security and foreign policy. They point out its lack of a strategic culture and outdated philosophy of non-alignance. "A great power" does not mean economic power but means political power for its region. To be a great power or not to be, that is a choice by itself. But the West clearly expect India to be concerned on its region's peacemaking.  

Additional article I chose this week was from International about politics and IT.

International: Participatory politics
Processing power
The internet helps politician listen better to their electors. If they want to
My interest:
1.        What does “digital politics” mean?
One of my friends is an activist on opening the election campaign on the internet. His opinion is reasonable so the government is trying to open election activities on the internet from this summer. But things just like putting camera in parliaments do not embody the future politics. What is it to be “digital” in politics?
2.        How to make crowd of citizens produce consensus that actually works?
The article points out the limit of crowd politics[1]. Crowd of citizens are good at tabling proposals and voting on them but not good at hard negotiation. How to use crowd power to built “a Death star” (=achieve an attractive but difficult job)?

1.        e-petitionse-請願)success case 
“LiquidFeedback” è Local people have developed and submitted recommendations to their councilors via website.
Successful e-petitions brings about a parliamentary vote
“We the people” è 34,000 people implored the government to start building a death star and an officer responded to them.

2.        Criticism of e-petitions
Too unambitious / rarely enable users to discuss issues ore fine-tune their demands
“Successful politics is not about finding people who agree with you. It is about making difficult decisions without killing each other.”
The idea of writing legislation collaboratly using “wiki” software is unsuccessful.

3.        Other ideas to make digital politics successful
(1) Writing regulation (2) Setting budgeting priorities (3) Revising constitution to be adopted an open approach (4) Securing transparency (5) Providing websites and apps (6) Focusing on poor, old and disabled people

[1] I got a related book “なめらかな社会とその敵” written by 鈴木健. I don’t have read it now but the concept “Divicracy=dividual democracy(分人民主主義)” sounds attractive.