Shaaz Nasir

Posts Tagged ‘economics’

We All Dream

In Advice on March 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

We all dream, just some more than others. Many dream in the night but those who dream while awake can steer their destiny with open eyes. You are your only limit. Facing reality does not mean submitting to it. When people accepts reality they take one step towards controlling it, understanding it.

Mind The Gap is a philosophy that links economics to fashion to world issues and much much more.

MTG was a dream I had while awake.  Soon enough and thanks to the Vice President of Communications (William), MTG will morph into something beyond my dreams and beyond me.

It is most definitely a risk to put my dream on the line. But as I said earlier, accepting reality is one step closer  to understanding it.

The world is moving at a rate I cannot keep up with and thus I have to accept that sometimes we have to let go of things when we love the most. It may mean less of me and more of MTG.

It will all make sense when the real MTG is launched when the dream is finally realized.

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Our Generation

In Business, Canada, Economics, Globalization, World on March 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

Dear Readers,

We have the momentum.

We have the audacity.

We have the skills.

We all have what is needed to reach level of personal and professional development never thought possible before but our generation needs to understand its true potential. From fashion, to economics, to lifestyle, we must mind the gap from being just okay. We must achieve greatness. In the coming weeks everything is going to change for MTG.

Just wait and see.

Shaaz and Will

David Beckham and Friedman: Free kick the Market

In Advice, Canada, Finance, Globalization on December 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Article of the Week!

Below is an interesting take on economic predictions based the assumption of perfect knowledge.

Enjoy !

Don’t expect markets to bend it like Beckham

By John Kay

Published: December 28 2010 21:51 | Last updated: December 28 2010 21:51

Several years ago, The Daily Telegraph made an unlikely claim about Britain’s most famous footballer. Under the headline “David Beckham a physics genius”, the paper reported a study describing the differential equations that must be solved to compute the trajectory of the ball in a famous Beckham goal.

The relationship between intention and outcome in sport had been highlighted many years earlier in a much cited joint article by the doyen of Chicago economics, Milton Friedman, and the great statistician Leonard Jimmie Savage. Friedman and Savage suggested that the shots of an expert billiard player would be those an accomplished physicist would calculate using knowledge of equations of motion. Like Beckham, the billiard player might not be capable of actually making such calculations, but the assumption that he did would accurately describe his play.

Friedman and Savage were defending the use of unrealistic assumptions in economic reasoning. The only thing that mattered, they claimed, was the accuracy of predictions. Friedman built on these ideas in another article, “The methodology of positive economics”. Fifty years later, economists continue to claim justification for implausible assumptions on the basis of his argument.

The analogy Friedman and Savage used applies only to expert billiard players. If you try to predict my own play using the assumption of perfect calculation, you will not predict well: you might do better to assume that the ball will move randomly. But expert billiard players are those who make excellent shots and they do so even if neither they nor we quite understand how they do it. This is what enables us to recognise them as expert.

The unrealistic assumption of perfect shots works only because of a process of selection in which players like me are eliminated. Thanks to the mathematical work of evolutionary biologists over the past 50 years, we now understand that arguments such as this can be extremely powerful. Darwin’s insight was to show that evolution could produce outcomes beyond the scope of even the most complex calculations. Results might seem to be the outcome of extensive optimisation even though no one had done, or could do, the maths.

Selection processes are found in social life, in sport, in business and finance, as well as in biology. Natural selection is seen in the commercial world: only profitable companies survive, and only successful traders keep trading. But the context of natural selection defines the narrow limits of the argument that Friedman and Savage developed. Their example does not establish a general case for accepting theories based on unrealistic assumptions. In fact, it shows the limits of such an argument.

The assumption that the shot played is the best available is useful in explaining the strokes made by a single expert billiard player. But that assumption is useless for explaining the interaction between two expert billiard players. A high-level game between experts is impressive because their play is nearly perfect, yet exciting and involving only because their play is not perfect. To predict the outcome of a match, you need to focus on the imperfections.

What is important in billiards is the result, not the play: and what matters in business and finance is the outcome, not the process. In business and finance, as in billiards, the imperfections are critical and you can anticipate the result, or understand the outcome, only by appreciating these imperfections.

Most profit-making opportunities in business have already been taken. The people who make money, either as entrepreneurs or as traders, are those who find those profit opportunities that have not already been taken. In securities markets the efficient market hypothesis is largely true but attractive investment opportunities are found only when the efficient market hypothesis is not true. And it is when the hypothesis is not true that we observe market dislocations.

The imperfections of markets explain who makes money, and who loses it; why economic growth sometimes falters, and how it then recovers. Friedman and Savage’s metaphor was designed to explain how we might predict economic events by assuming perfect knowledge even if that assumption of perfect knowledge was unrealistic. But their metaphor illustrates even more clearly why economic predictions based on the assumption of perfect knowledge are so often misleading.

“ECONOMIC ASSSSUMMMPPTTIIIIIOOOOOOONNSSSSSS!!!!”

BTW ….funny how the free kick was against Greece….

FOR THE RECORD ….David did take physics courses to further improve his game

SHOCKER….Freidman was bad at soccer

Doubt Me.

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Economics Association, ESA, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Film, Football, Glasses, Globalization, google, GQ Magazine, Greeting, Life, Metrosexual, Orientation, Packing, Tennis, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Doubt if you must, it’s something I have grown accustom to. If people don’t doubt you it means you’re not pushing the boundaries, not daring to do something that can’t be done. The moment people stop doubting you it’s not because you won them over but rather because you lost yourself.”

– life experiences

From the start people will doubt you and your aspirations. In an attempt to clip your wings all types of methods will be used; no matter what you must resist the barraged of attacks. At the end of high-school after 4 years of planning to become a psychologist I discovered the world of economics. My plan for the next 10 years was scratched in 10 minutes as I frantically scrambled through my research to determine the prerequisites of my new dream.

The Chinese could not have built a greater wall than what stood between me and economics.

The hurdles added up to around 2 years of more schooling. I scurried over to my high school academic advisor to devise a master plan in which my dream would become a reality way sooner. Little did I know, she would doubt me.

“Shaaz, why are you trying? Just give up on this goal of yours. You can’t do this it’s just too much for you. Stop and settle for what you have; you would probably need 3 years of schooling to get the perquisites. There is no way this can be done.”

Some great Academic Advice eh?

So I picked up the pieces of my shattered goal from the floor and made a quick exit. After some consulting with my family and other sources (you can smell my sheer determination at this point, never give up), the solution was found!

Take that Risk

I had a meeting with the department of economics at Carleton which produced a a risky choice. I could take a harder version of  grade 12 calculus at Carleton (some hybrid version which means more in-depth/challenging) and VOILA  I would be majoring in economics at uOttawa. However, the chance to waste money, time, rejecting job offers and failing was high as I had ZERO experience with math at that level.

Of course I took the class.

LONG days LONG nights and NO Summer with LOTS of stress. On average 5-6 hours of studying a day everyday period.

Raw brute force.

Result?

Determination worked as I finished in the top 10% percent of the class with a 79%.  Proved a good amount of people wrong but more importantly proved to myself I could live out my dream, no matter how tall those walls were.

Now I am only 7 months away from my degree in International Economics and Development with a minor in Business Administration. I have 3 years of government work experience. I have the privilege to be the VP Finance of uOttawa’s Tennis League and  the VP Academic uOttawa’s Economic Student Association. Furthermore, I been lucky enough to embark on a 20 day economic delegation to China and Malaysia as a Trade Ambassador.

This message  is not about me or my life but rather about the powers of doubt itself.

Keep pushing the boundaries and doing what’s not possible time and time again.

So for those people please continue to doubt me and MTG.

It only means good things are coming our way…

Mind the Economy: “Currency War” made simple

In Advice, Beijing, Blog, Business, Canada, China, Economics, Global Vision, Globalization, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, India, Kuala Lampur, Life, Lunch, Malaysia, Ottawa, Packing, Shenzhen, SME, Song, Success, Technology, Television, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How do Currencies and Interest rates play off each other?

More recently, many developing countries have had to contend with their own currencies rising and undermining their competitiveness.

The problem is that those low interest rates in the developed world have led investors to seek higher returns elsewhere, in emerging markets.

To invest in those markets, they need to buy the currency and that pushes its value up. That in turn makes those countries’ goods more expensive for foreign buyers and the overseas investment money creates a danger of unsustainable bubbles in their property and financial markets.

China has stopped its currency rising much by buying foreign currency. If it were to refrain from that and allow the yuan to rise, it would probably help other developing countries that compete with China, as well as the US which is protesting the most.

But there is another force behind the rising developing world currencies. Their economies are growing robustly, while the rich countries are not.

The tension over between the US and China over currency policy surfaced once again at the International Monetary Fund Talks

USA renewed the pressure on China to allow its currency to rise. The US has a long-standing grievance over China’s currency policy, which limits the movement of the yuan against the dollar. The American complaint is that it gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage.

There was a vigorous response from Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China’s central bank (The People’s Bank of China), who blamed the rich countries for problems in the currency markets. Mr Zhou said extremely low interest rates in rich countries had created “stark challenges for emerging market countries”.

My Thoughts on the Gap.

Tensions are rising among the developing world and developed as priorities on currency (non)manipulation begin to clash. However, should a country stop manipulating its currency in the name of “fairness”?

Destabilizing the economy in the short run, running the risk of damaging the private sector as businesses go bankrupt; jeopardizing an economy’s growth and ability to reduce poverty  does not sound “fair”. The notion of “fair” implies morals which begs the question: who is making these moral rules?

WTO….IMF….WB……USA…..CHINA…..WALDO?????

International Economics is a game where rules are subjective but actual substantive growth is tangibly objective. I am not for currency manipulation but neither am I for irrational and sudden policies  that would jeopardize  an entire economy….especially not the economy that’s the driving force of world growth in terms of consumer consumption ….

-Articles combined from BBC & CBC

Mind the Economy: Jobless Recovery…Give me a break IMF

In Advice, Business, Canada, Culture, Economics, Experience, Faith, Future, Globalization, Life, Shaaz Nasir, Success, Technology, Trade, Traveling, World Bank on October 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Four challenges: IMF

Strauss-Kahn highlighted four challenges to be addressed by the officials gathering in Washington…..

• Sovereign debt. Fiscal sustainability remains a problem for some countries, particularly those that entered the crisis with very high levels of debt. “So we are strongly in favor of medium-term consolidation, but it doesn’t mean that in the short term every country will have to tighten as much as possible. It depends a lot on their own situation and it is very country specific.” Where the recovery remains fragile and private sector demand is weak, support for demand is still needed.

• Jobless recovery. Just reviving growth is not enough. “We need growth with jobs. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street. So obviously, for us, the crisis will not be over until the unemployment rate decreases significantly.”

• Financial sector reform. While a lot has been done to address improved regulation, particularly through the new Basle III accord, a lot more needs to be done on supervision and regulation of the financial sector, which was at the heart of the global crisis. In addition, Strauss-Kahn said the IMF supported moves to introduce taxation of the sector.

Global cooperation. The world got through the economic crisis through very close cooperation, but now the momentum was decreasing. One example of this is emerging competition between countries to adjust their currencies to gain an advantage. “What we all want is the rebalancing of the global economy, and this rebalancing cannot happen without a natural consequence of it, which is a change in the relative value of currencies.”

Politics +  Economics = headache

I have been noticing over the past two years that policy makers in the lime light or politicians using the phrase “growth without jobs is horrible” or ” we cannot face a jobless recovery ARHHH”….

Are these guys missing the point or adhering to misconceptions of growth and recovery formed by the pubic?

Depending on what sector, companies around the world  must experience substantive growth for around 12 to 20 months before they can consider hiring once again. Furthermore, during (and as a result of ) recessionary periods, companies examine  their internal workforce and re-prioritize organizational objectives. The restructuring period may lead  to massive overhauls (bigger than Wario’s) for the company’s structure and size. For example, GM…they cut their company in half by killing about 6 brands….people cannot expect them to hire the same amount of workers….

Furthermore, demographics  also play a vital role in unemployment rates. In Canada the time it takes for unemployment rates to return to pre recession levels takes twice as long for young professionals (defined as youth 16-25)…why..that’s another post for another day.

For now,

let us focus on these four challenges and the realization that time is the best public policy tool in the fight against unemployment rates, not fuelling economic misconceptions.

ASIA IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD!

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Fat, Friends, Globalization, google, Greeting, Traveling, University of Ottawa, World on September 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

WHHAAAATT?!

Calm down

Asia is taking over the WORLD wide web.

Coming back from the economic trade delegation in China and Malaysia I thought to myself about Asia’s role in the Internet market. After traveling to India many times it was clear that the Internet was increasingly becoming an integral part of society but not through the use of PCs. In China and Malaysia the market was booming as we met with countless companies that pointed to the use of the Internet. Many people think developing countries are not “advance enough” for Internet usage…oh they lack the required infrastructure…well lots of people are wrong.

Looking at a McKinsey Report here are some fast facts to grab your attention

  • Over the next 5 years nearly 700 million more Asians will start using the internet
  • Internet opportunities in emerging Asia could reach $80 billion by 2015

Now we move on to what McKinsey has to say

Malaysia

While the country has only around 15 million–plus Internet users, that’s close to 55 percent of the total population, and mobile Internet penetration is close to 30 percent of it. Given the Malaysian government’s push to expand high-speed broadband, we forecast that the country will have up to 25 million Internet users by 2015, or close to 80 percent of the population. As both fixed and wireless broadband grow, we project that more than 50 percent of all users will choose to have both personal-computer and mobile-device options for getting online.

Malaysians consume 35 percent more digital media than Internet users in China and 150 percent more than users in India, particularly on social-networking sites and instant messaging. That may, for example, give handset manufacturers opportunities to build social-network access into their devices. We also found that Malaysians like to multitask across both digital and traditional media. For advertisers, that’s problematic, since viewers are paying less attention to traditional media content—and thus advertising.

China

China leads the world in sheer numbers of Internet users—more than 420 million people, or close to 30 percent of the population. Over 80 percent surf the Web from home, while 230 million use mobile devices. We forecast that the number of Internet users will almost double over the next five years, hitting 770 million people, or 55 percent of the population. More than 70 percent will use both PCs and handheld devices.

China’s digital usage, which is similar to that of the United States, skews toward instant messaging, social networks, gaming, and streaming video. Increasingly, Internet users in China are substituting digital media for traditional ones, with the potential for further cannibalization as digital consumption grows. This development has stark implications for advertisers and how they allocate future marketing budgets. Consumers, meanwhile, also use the Internet in their purchasing decisions. They are more influenced by recommendations from social-network contacts and friends than by traditional marketing messages or visits to company Web sites.

India

With only 7 percent of the population connected (81 million users), India is Asia’s digital sleeper. Yet we believe that it’s poised to become a truly mobile-Internet society as new users leapfrog PCs altogether. We project that by 2015, the number of Internet users will increase almost fivefold, to more than 350 million—28 percent of the population—with more than half of those accessing the Web via mobile phones. To capture this opportunity, companies will need to roll out wired and wireless broadband networks aggressively, to make smartphones and network access more affordable, and to develop new content types.

Consumer demand clearly is robust. On average, Indians spend more than four hours a day consuming online and offline content. On PCs, often used in cyber cafés, Indians spend much time e-mailing and are heavy consumers of downloaded videos and music, as well as DVD movies. While Indian consumers use mobile phones predominantly for voice services, they also treat them as offline personal-entertainment devices, listening to radio stations or to downloaded music. There is significant pent-up demand for more convenient and personalized Internet access—a void the mobile Web could fill.

Embracing the opportunity

High hardware costs, inconsistent network quality, and limited access could check these optimistic growth prospects. But the extent of such barriers varies by nation, and there’s notable progress overcoming them. Construction of network infrastructure is proceeding apace—companies in India, for example, just spent nearly $25 billion on telecommunications spectrum. Meanwhile, hardware and access costs are declining in most markets. The biggest challenge is to make money while creating a variety of low-cost content.

Three issues are especially important:

  • Innovators and entrepreneurs must develop content creation and delivery models priced low enough to compete against the pirated options currently available.
  • Content and Web services providers need to foster the growth of local and regional advertising markets to help defray the cost of content creation.
  • E-commerce platforms, including transaction systems that make purchases more convenient and trusted, must be developed.

At the same time, companies in consumer-facing sectors (for instance, automotive, packaged consumer goods, and retailing) will need to reconsider their marketing and advertising strategies in light of the shift away from traditional media. At stake is a significant competitive advantage in a region that already boasts more than half the world’s Internet users—and will only continue to grow.

Japanese 3D WORLD CUP?!

In Blog, Business, Canada, Economics, Exercise, Fashion, Football, Friends, Frosh, Future, Globalization, Orientation, Ottawa, Technology, Television, Traveling, University of Ottawa, Women, Work, World, Youtube on September 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

In 2022, the Japanese claim that with over 150 HD cameras and special microphones they can create a 3D World Cup. What does this mean? Well imagine this…seeing Brazil play England in lansdowne park ….what?

Yes.

The Japanese say forget about sitting in an cinema with some cheap plastic ray-ban rip offs…

Brazil and England play in Japan during the World Cup while you are in Ottawa at Lansdowne park watching a 3D projection of that game on the field….with the sounds of the Japanese fans cheering with you.

This is monumental as the potential profits are simply unimaginable….fields in New York…London…Paris…Hong Kong the list goes on and on….

Profits?

1 game

90, 000 tickets to sell….

now take that number and multiply it by as many fields you want!

Calm Down

Turning the World Cup into a truly international experience does have its setbacks. The cost structure of setting up a 3D enabled field in the mega cities mentioned above would be key to the pricing of the tickets. Image rights for the players could also be troublesome and the actual technology itself is somewhat questionable….

But this could be the true game changer in Soccer with potential profits quadrupling as long FIFA has a plan to deal with the equal increase in cost and risk.

Where is the juice?

The games will be partially powered by solar panels AND  the kinetic energy created by a stadium full of fans. Simply outstanding as the passion and love for the sport will literally generate/sustain the World Cup  atmosphere.

Final Word

I say give the Japanese a chance with the World Cup in 2022….let  the beautiful game embrace the 3D movement.

Wolves Eating You!

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, Economics, ESA, Experience, Global Vision, Globalization, Traveling, University of Ottawa, World on September 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

One of the best Lessons ever

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life . .

He said to them,

“A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil—he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, false competition, false superiority, and false ego.

The other is good —he is joy, peace, love, hope, trust, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, hard/ smart work, truth, and compassion.  This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, ”

Which wolf will win, Grandfather?”

The Elder replied…..

“The one you feed.”

This simple yet powerful short story if understood can have a long lasting impact on your life.

Back to school…don’t think so!

In 101 week, Advice, Blog, Canada, Economics, ESA, Experience, Friends, Globalization, Ottawa, Success, Technology, University of Ottawa on September 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

The Start of the Start?

As the summer comes to an end, the same mundane thought creeps into our mind: back to school again.

Not this time, at least not for me. This is not just another school year; rather this is THE school year. Even before kindergarten, the importance of this year was being instilled in my mind.  From late nights to early mornings, everything was for the final year of my University Degree.

It’s a strange feeling as I approach probably the biggest milestone of my life thus far; it’s a great feeling in fact.  My family has been the sole reason for my success; their relentless belief in me has been my driving force. There have been moments when I have doubted my self or lacked the will power to charge through the obstacles at hand; this is when my sister, father, and mother caught me as I slipped.

Fire

Last year was successful in terms of “marks”, but I felt the passion I once had, the same passion that guided me to my degree, was beginning to dim. Don’t get me wrong I loved my third year, it’s just that burning passion to learn from others to further my knowledge in all my classes was being replaced by a misguided and unfortunate pursuit for “high marks”. Studying for tests became a game where I would master techniques to memorize thought processes rather then build my own and critically evaluate the questions at hand…”what would the TA like?”…..not what is my opinion and how can I best convey it?”

The Commitment

My mindset must return to what it was in first year…open and critical…always questioning but with the intent of understanding.

Here are some of my favorite quotes on learning…

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.  ~Alvin Toffler

Learning is like rowing upstream:  not to advance is to drop back.  ~Chinese Proverb

It is not hard to learn more.  What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.  ~Martin H. Fischer

This is not “back to school” …no this is the start of the realization that the next 10 classes, the next 2 semesters, the next 8 months is what I was working towards for the last 20 years of my life.

Time to shine.

 

Video for Education and Learning