Friday, 18 December 2009

A political duty of care?

In Donoghue v Stevenson, Lord Atkinson eloquently set out the neighbour test:

"You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question."

Should politicans owe a legally enforceable duty of care to its constituents? Arguably, yes. But realistically, never. One cannot expect lawmakers to commit political and legal suicide.

Perhaps this is good material for what I call "legal fiction"; laws that will never come to see the light on this planet - but that can blossom in the creative fields of our imagination.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Rig Types

To know more about the different breeds of rigs, the following site provides some comprehensive information:

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Brazil Oil: New legislation update

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has proposed new legislation aimed at governing the development of his country’s potentially enormous reserves of oil in the offshore presalt layer, about 270 km off Brazil. As the President put it: “The subsalt oil fields are a gift from God—wealth which, if properly managed, can drive major transformations in Brazil, improving living conditions for our people.” Lula also reiterated that Brazil does not want to be a “mere exporter of crude oil” and that the plan also aims to establish a powerful petrochemical industry to refine the oil into derivatives in order to export value-added products like gasoline. The development model, which must be ratified by Brazil’s Congress, includes: a new production-sharing system for contracts; a new public company for presalt contract agreement and administration; and a new social fund for investment in education and mitigating poverty in Brazil.

The new development model involves Brazil’s move from a concession model to a production-sharing system for the award of new contracts. Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobao said the proposed production-sharing system reflects a change in Brazil’s standing from an oil importer to a self-sufficient global energy producer.

The government's new model also includes the creation of a public company responsible for controlling and monitoring the cost of E&P of presalt and the administration of sharing contracts. This company will represent the country in the consortia and operating committees to be created for directly managing different sharing contracts and monitoring all activities in E&P. The presalt development model will establish a social fund that will set up a means to direct revenues from presalt exploration toward investment in poverty reduction, in education and in science and technology. The new social fund will take the form of a public savings account that receives income from various sources such as royalties, signature, bonuses, and commercial revenues from petroleum and gas, originated in production sharing, and resources from activities such as mining.

Incorpolis in Rio!

After writing numerous articles on Brazil oil from my squeaky chair in Oxford, Incorpolis is now in a position to write about the commodity, the market and industry in general. Expect pictures of oil rigs, pipes and ships soon!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Piracy and gobal redistribution of wealth

Piracy is undoubtedly a crime. That cannot be disputed. However, as Marcus Aurelius argued, "hunger is the mother of all crimes". Thus I ask: is piracy merely a manifestation of the unequal distribution of wealth in the world? Arguably, some pirates enjoy what they do: the thrill, the drama, the weapons. But if we look closer, we can see how it is simply mankind's struggle for economic equality. It is essentially an economic crime. And one cannot fight such crimes with use of force - what is needed is long-term regional economic reform.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE < < < <<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Piracy at Sea IV

As Incorpolis argued in "Piracy at Sea III", the solution to the Somali piracy problem entails reforming the political and social fabric of the country. Indeed, as Rear Adm Peter Hudson put it "piracy cannot be solved at sea...bringing stability in Somalia is crucial".

For more on this see:

Thursday, 18 June 2009

On the LPC electives: You don't have to be fair

The desire to become known publicly,

By re-registering, listing and trading,

Intra-group taxes and VAT relief,

Private acquisitions, takeovers,

Shareholder’s grief.

Disclosing facts that are unknown,

May seem to some burdensome,

You have to be fair.

You have to be fair.

You have to be fair is set in stone.

Moving, buying, profiting, growing,

Taxing, ruling the unruly, encoding,

M.B.O’s and M.B.I’s

Private equity, change of control, sigh.

You have to be fair.

You have to be fair.

Planning early avoids later losses,

Unhappy employees but happy bosses,

Merging entities that once competed

For the same resources that are now depleted.

Tricky stocks and tricking prices,

Warranties, indemnities,

But the seller entices,

The buyer, poor buyer, says “no more!”

To the glorified English legal principle of

Caveat emptor.

That is,

Let the buyer beware.

You don’t have to be fair.

Oh seller!

Watch him drown,

Oh students!

In their robes and gowns,

Teachers! Teach them,

That they don’t have to be fair.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Piracy at Sea III

The international commercial system is sick. In medicine, a physician would ideally treat the patient by surgically removing the tumour or eradicating the cause of the disease - failing that, he would treat the symptoms in the hope that the patient will eventually recover. Or he could do a mixture of any of those things. The commercial world has opted for a symptomatic treatment policy in the adventurous quest for combating piracy at sea. It naively believes that it can treat the symptoms of this commercial infection by merely sending more military ships to the coast off Somalia. But such a move is clearly bound to fail. In plumbing, you don't fix a leak by bucketing it in a cup, emptying it, and robotically starting the process all over again. You don't need to be an expert in plumbing to know that in such circumstances what you really ought to do is fix the pipe. What the international community has failed to recognise is that the problem cannot be doctored via sporadic military missions - the remedy does not lie in use of force, but in the use of political reform. Thus, the only way of preventing piracy at sea (at least off the coast of Somalia) is by re-visiting the political, social and economic (frail) architecture of the country. Only by re-engineering its political infrastructure, providing a viable economic direction and developing a stable and reliable social network for its people will Somalia be able to secure its borders and territorial waters. But it cannot do it alone. Maybe the international community can't see the forest for the trees. Or perhaps it can, and is constrained by a political timidity that will only exarcebate an issue that will never sail away, no matter how many military vessels are sent. C'est dommage, but I think that the pirates are here to stay.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Brown going Down: Reloading Labour

Political escape-goatism. One of the greatest weapons held by the opposition in times critical to disturbing the electoral equilibrium. Thus the Shakespearian question pertains on Labour's besieged economic gladiator's conscience, PM Brown: to go or not to go? After a desperate cabinet reshuffle, prompted by a series of unprecedented resignations, the Prime Minister has fallen in a political trap that will undoubtedly be impossible to escape. Has Brown been political KO'd? Arguably, yes. Despite the mishandled recession, MP's expenses fiasco and an inability to engineer hope for the population, it is argued that Brown is still the best man to do the "job". What we need is not a new leader, but a new ideology. Labour's political philosophy, though commendable, has been subject to extraneous forces which have infected the roots of a party that once was the nation's favourite. It is now time for New Labour to be strategically replaced by Labour, Reloaded.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Cementing the BriCs

Despite the current economic downturn, the BriC countries are managing to help each other out whilst the rest of the world argues over which bank did what where and when:

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Charismatic-less politicians

Just a quick note about a meeting today with Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain and Secretary of State for Justice. After having delivered a convincing - albeit short - speech about various issues such as Human Rights Act 1998, transparency, the media, and how great Labour is, he still failed to capture my political imagination. I think this exemplifies the lack of political charisma most British politicians currently suffer from .Blair and Churchill are - unarguably - exceptions to this political misfortune. We need a British OBAMA!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Piracy at Sea II

The situation is clearly unacceptable:

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Searching for a purpose: a guide

Whether you're drilling for oil, writing an essay, creating new technology, or governing a country, apply the following universal formula: understand, change, create (UCC).

By applying the UCC philosophy to life, one can expect higher returns and a greater sense of purpose.

A man's life is therefore measured according to what he understood, changed and created.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Piracy at Sea I

In today's delicate financial environment, one cannot stop but to associate the culprits of the financial crisis with a bunch of pirates from the 15th century. But the quintessential pirates, that is, pirates at sea, do no belong merely to the sensationalism of history books. Piracy at sea is a live, real, and costly threat to the global economy. It is common knowledge that 90% of world trade depends on the shipping industry. However, the successful execution of pirate-led operations is threatening the very industry that is the lifeblood of the world trading system. A poor effort has been made thus far to resolve this growing threat - at a time when the global economy is - for lack of better words - sinking.

Click here to view a brief video on the issue generally.

Click here to view the EU's efforts in tackling piracy at sea.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Coco-Energy: Chocolate bars and Lightbulbs Revisited

"Time to overcome your shyness and break out from that shell!" This is a story that would make Willy Wonka and his staff of Oompa-Loompas from "Charlie in the Chocolate Factory" very, very interested ($$$$). US engineers tested a novel way of generating electricity using coal tempered with cocoa-bean shells. The technology still awaits approval from the State of New Hampshire, but if all goes well, factories could begin using these useless cocoa-bean shells to power its operations. It is argued that this would have a significant economic impact on the price of cocoa as demand would increase for the mighty bean (there's no way you can get the shell without harvesting the bean!). The environmental benefits from such technology would join the ranks with sugar-cane crops (ethanol), rapeseeds (VPO) and palm trees (biodiesel). The move is to be welcomed. We could witness a sharp increase in backward integration in cocoa-dependent industries (chocolate, some alcohol distilleries). The 21st century has surely brought us some electrifying surprises: indeed, who would ever think that chocolate bars could power lightbulbs?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Capital Punishment of Capitalism

Could the world be witnessing the end of capitalism as we know it?

Monday, 2 February 2009

A Note on Positive Psychology, Religion and Economic Theory:

One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy (Aristotle). At a time when the global economy is at the brink of collapse, it is interesting to inquire how economic cycles affect our positive psychology:

Does economic contraction entail psychological recession?

Could economic theory not only explain individual motivations but also religious orientations? Could our conceptualisation of God be an 'invisible hand' (see A.Smith, Wealth of Nations) devised so as to fulfill ulterior economic motives?

Could happiness be more dependent on the inward disposition of the mind than on outward circumstances? And could economic theory explain - or even control - such dispositions?

My nescience of contemporary economic literature prevents me from providing suitable answers to these questions. Your views, however, are more than welcome.