I just got back from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). As mentioned earlier, I had to retake knowledge exams and a roadtest. Today I had to take the roadtest, where an instructor joins you in your car to see whether you are fit to drive.
The past, say, 16 months Sarah and I have been working on my emigration to the U.S. Hundreds if not thousands of euros were spent and a Brazilian rain forest had to be cut for all the forms we needed to fill out. Most of the process is just a seemingly unending string of tiresome and repetitive activities. It’s not difficult necessarily, it’s just a lot of work.
But at some points along the way you are caught unaware, and jumped by problems that cannot be solved that easily. My (current) top 4 in this post. Continue reading
In past years government bodies have become louder and louder about women quota. An often-heard goal is to have ‘40% of boardroom members to be female’. The European Commission states in their definition of a quota:
The quota-instrument is a positive measure that establishes a fixed percentage or number for the representation of a specific category of persons.
To me, that sounds very suspicious – without any argumentation it is somehow deemed to be positive. Regardless, countries are following up. For instance, Germany is set to introduce legislation that will require German firms to allot 30 per cent of their non-executive board seats to women from 2016. But why? Why do we want 30% or 40%, or even 50% of boardroom members to be female? There can be 2 reasons:
- Having more women in boardrooms would be fairer
- Having more women in boardrooms would be better
If governments face a budget deficit that is deemed to be too high, two actions can be taken: government spending is lowered, or government income is increased. The lion’s share of government income comes from taxes; increasing government income as a way of reducing budget deficits therefore translates to increasing taxes. But taxes are not increased, really; tax rates are increased.
But what few people know is that in certain situations raising tax rates will actually reduce government income from taxes.
In the past days the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas has been criticised more severely than ever, or so it seems. The discussion culminated in the involvement of the United Nations a few days ago. U.N. reporters apparently received information that the tradition of Sinterklaas is in essence racist, and that Zwarte Piet, stupid and a servant, feeds the stereotype of Africans as second class citizens. Dutch citizens, activated by explicit racial accusations and demands to abolish their much-loved tradition, somewhat to my surprise revolted. Online petitions received hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’. Maurice de Hond, mostly known as a the most important ‘pollster’ about elections in the Netherlands, reported that a staggering 92% of Dutch people says that there is nothing to worry about, that there is no racism involved, and that it’s just about a great feast for children. Similarly, De Telegraaf (a Dutch newspaper) surveyed 5.000 people, finding similar conclusions.
I don’t wish to reiterate all the points one can find in public discussions; I do however want to make 3 points:
- The tradition is already lost: A prediction
- The tradition is already lost: The influence of current discussions on future celebrations
- The U.N. – WTF?!