$3.6 million in bonus but it was not enough: is that money addiction?

“In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted.” Sam Polk, a former Wall Street trade investor.  The New York Times article: For The Love of Money

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This 2014 NYT article choked a lot of people who think that a bonus of $3 million dollars is a lottery winning ticket and yet for Sam that was not enough because he compared himself with his co-workers and some were making even more.

Sam described in this NYT article how he was basically “addicted to money” and at the age of 30, with not children he was making over $3 million dollars a year but not happy.

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Sam actually said in the article: “Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — including an $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary”.

Sam left Wall Street and opened up a nonprofit organization to help low-income families. He stated that he had helped others from his stock trading world to move out if they thought that they had enough but did not know how to leave.

Definitely an interesting topic. From one side, you see that people have the right to achieve higher goals in their lives, including financial freedom. From the other side, you see a huge gap in society where just a few people are able to be making millions based on a system that perhaps does not favour more than a few.

Despite this gap, the problem is not in the freedom of entrepreneurship that allows people  to succeed in live. The problem perhaps is where organizations like McDonald’s, can pay $14 million for a CEO, but vast majority of the company’s employees are living on minimum wage.

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Is the mainstream media bias?

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I don’t think that there is a precise answer to the question of mainstream media being bias. After all everybody has a perspective of the facts. The problem is when the media focus too much on presenting the facts associated with their point of view. But dissociating from the public that are receiving the news.

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I don’t think that there is an unbiased approach if you are so focus on presenting the facts according to your interests.

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However the public today is realizing how they can be played. How that the same news can be shown differently from channel to channel. This is creating a sense of urgency for mainstream media to be more transparent and to work towards the unbiased path.

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I don’t think that there is a time more appropriated for that approach than now. The internet brought new challenges but also gave more freedom to people. The internet has a lot to improve, for example we still have reports of “fake” news on Facebook and Twitter. But the reality is, despite the small percentage of “fake”news, the internet provide at the same time, every channel commenting the same news.screen-shot-2013-03-28-at-3-47-32-pm

In the end, the public are able to question why the same facts are downplayed or overemphasize between channels. And ask: why the media is not impartial?

This was the first step to make the mainstream media more accountable on how they present the facts without being so bias.

Tourism and blogging: Boosting the economy in small towns

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Visiting picturesque small towns are usually a nice experience. First of all the small towns have always something unique and after a good experience, visitors are now writing blogs and sharing their opinion with social media.

In the United States and Canada, it seems that the small towns are trying to boost their economy using tourism and social media to attract visitors. (Photo above: Galena, IL)

I was particular surprise on how similar are certain towns and how they are trying to “differentiate” themselves showing something particular to each one of them. dining-roomI

It does not matter if you are visiting small towns in  United States or in Canada, you will find a good source of blogs and travel tips from local businesses and visitors commenting their experience. Here is a blog from visit Virginia. (photo above: The Downtown Grille in Charlottesville,VA, photo below, summer festival in Niagara on the Lake, ON)

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We can always be impressed with big cities like New York, Paris, London, Vancouver or Toronto, it is almost like that the big cities don’t need to make an extra effort regarding advertise to attract visitors. However, small towns are now getting smart and using the power of social media in their favour. 13517614_10154096361262489_1602048739658451533_o

The power of social media and hundreds of blogs have created a natural flow of tourism and with it a good boost in the economy for small towns.(Above: photo of downtown Newmarket, ON)

I placed here some photos of small towns in the USA and Canada, at one point was hard to see what town was what (well, unless you see the Canadian flag), they are very similar at first but each one is unique. Because of that, small towns are advertising their uniqueness, meaning; a family restaurant, or a street summer festival, or even a coffee shop. (photos below: downtown Charlottesville, VA).

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Summer festivities in downtown Newmarket-ON.

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Below wineries in Niagara on the Lake, ON and Charlottesville,VA.

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US elections and coffee

I was driving to work early in the morning and listening 96.3 FM, when the host suddently mentioned – based on a blog – that there were a “connection” with coffee and the 2016 USA elections. I found interesting the comment and was looking for the answer.

The host then said that she had read a bog called “I love coffee, coffee shops vs 2016 Presidential elections results” where it describes the map of “blue” vs “red” States, meaning that Democrats won in West and East coast and Republicans won vast majority in central USA. That means Seattle, the birth place of Starbucks was DNC, and the states that had more Starbucks and or any coffee shops stores per capita voted “blue”.

The comparison was just for fun, because according to 96.3 radio host, the blog was promoting coffee not political party!

Click here to see the blog: Coffee shops vs 2016 Presidential election results!

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“Bridges or Walls, What is the Best for Our Society?”

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Sometimes I hear people talking about what should be better for society in general, should we build bridges or walls? I think the aiming of that question is more towards sociology than “engineering”. Although, we have bridges and walls of all size and shapes, they only work if they have a purpose.

Therefore the key for this sociological question is:  why and when should we build bridges or walls?

Well, the answer is: where are you placing them and for what purpose?modern-stone-wall2

 

Despite the fact that we see wall as a symbol of division as we see a bridge a symbol of connection, there is a place and reason for both of them. For example, you could not build a wall in between the streets of Venice, there is no point for that. As well as you should not build a bridge between two properties if the final goal is to simply state the ownership of a property. It is not to divide but to imply the right of property.

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Today we see countries trying to live under the aspiration of “borderless society”, which in theory is a very welcoming suggestion. Europe tried to implement this concept of not having walls. The problem was the fact that we live in a global world, and we share global issues, specially where countries are struggling with different internal problems.

From that stand point it is easy to understand that people will move around to countries with less internal conflicts or issues, to say the least. But would not be feasible or even possible if a population of one country just decide to move to another country at once.It is a difficult decision to say who can come and who can not come to the hosting country.

Europe faced that dilemma and at first the German Chancellor Angel Merkel, decided to not have “walls” but an open “bridge” allowing thousands of families in need to enter Germany. The problem was that by the end of the year 2015, more than one million undocumented migrants entered Europe. Creating a wave of concern for hosting countries not prepare for the task. The city of Paris saw families living under poor conditions, like living under the bridge (and the purpose of a bridge is not to shelter families) without assistance.

Force by the same situation Governments inside Europe started to build “walls”. Like Spanish Government on the photo below, to prevent North African migrants to enter Spain without permission.2b8f699600000578-3205724-image-m-3_1440180146207

 

Also the city of Calais in France, as per CNN coverage, where thousands of migrants had to spend months “camping” without any assistance,  creating a situation almost worse than if they had come in a more planed and prepared way.150806153253-01-calais-jungle-refugee-camp-exlarge-169

 

This situation cause a migration crisis never seen before in Europe since the end of the WWII.

From one side there was an obligation of helping and assisting those in need, from another side, the obligation of not allowing the chaos from one country to eventually destroy another country. Otherwise the problem will never end. (Photo below is a migrant camp under a bridge in Paris)_83364317_pariscamplongreut

 

Helping to rebuild a country that was in chaos, is the best solution in the long run to avoid families to move out and migrate to a far country, suffering all sorts of distress during their migration journey. In this situation building a bridge would be rebuilding the country that was once in chaos. I know that it is not an easy task, and there are those that found peace and happiness after migrate to another country. But also there were those that die trying this journey, and those that after finally arriving in the country, they felt that they were left aside.20151018-greece01_hyest