State Capitalism

State capitalism is referred to as a monetary system wherein business functions (profit oriented) are initiated by the state.

The production systems are arranged and controlled by the state. The government agencies manage the complete process – capital increase, the wage for labour and centralized management.

State capitalism is the combination of wage structure of production and control by the government. It could be utilized to denote a structure in which the state makes economic decisions to safeguard the well-being of mega businesses.

This is not a new concept e.g., the East India Company. However, it has witnessed an impressive recovery.

During the 1990s, state-controlled firms were nothing but government divisions in developing economies. The assumption was that, as the economy seasoned, the government would either shut or ensure they are privatized.

The crisis in the West and growth in emerging markets has convinced some experts, state capitalism is a viable model. According to them, capitalism has been revamped to ensure it is more efficient.

The requirement for leaders of the G-20 to construct consent behind the implementation of modified rules for financial institutions and dependable global oversight would supplement the movement.

Over a period of time, state capitalism has become prominent. The governments are steering mega capital flows across international markets with significant inferences for free markets and global growth.

The mega oil firms globally, assessed on the basis of their reserves are managed by governments.

Some of the examples are Saudi Aramco, Gazprom (Russia), China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), PetrĂ³leos de Venezuela (PDVSA), PetrĂ³leo Brasileiro (Petrobras), and Petronas (Malaysia).

The trend is not restricted to only the energy sector. State-controlled firms are making a foray into several sectors – military, power, telecommunications, metals and aviation.

The growth in an advanced segment of sovereign wealth funds is also facilitating an increase in state-controlled functions.

The governments with huge holdings in the currencies of other nations are creating mega risk-oriented funds to optimize the ROI and increase their political clout.

The international credit crunch increased the difficulty in securing funds, hence, sovereign wealth funds have become vital for the funding of state capitalism.

Economists backing state capitalism feel that it can deliver stability along with development.

The governments are in a position to lessen the crisis that a globalized capitalistic economy causes by increasing investments in public infrastructure projects and soft infrastructure of leading enterprises.

The Singapore government under the leadership of So Lee Kuan Yew allowed international companies to operate, accepted western management concepts and owned significant portions of firms.

China has achieved a growth rate of 8% in recent times. The US has a trade deficit of nearly $300 billion with China.

Several nations that function based on a state capitalist structure have overcome the impact of the global recession with better strength than free economies of the developed world.

The governments in a state capitalist structure, usually make long-term investments. The establishment of national mega firms that support the pursuit of the government’s policies is a critical strength of state capitalism.

However, there are serious weaknesses linked to state capitalism. State controlled firms absorb the capital and expertise that could have been used efficiently by private firms.

State-controlled firms usually replicate others technology since they could leverage the government’s influence to secure others technology. They would become competitive if they invest significantly in R&D.

State-controlled firms make few mega investments instead of many small investments. The pioneering innovations globally are mostly interconnections of small new ventures.

Stability is an area of concern. State capitalism functions efficiently only if it is managed by a capable state. Several nations in Asia have a common cultural background.

State capitalism favours insiders having excellent relationships with decision makers to highly efficient outsiders. It encourages crony capitalism.

The internal weaknesses in a state-controlled firm are not visible in the short-run, while resulting in several economic issues. Global investors in developing economies have to be careful.

State-capitalist regimes could be unreliable, with absolutely no concern for smaller shareholders. Some investors would find their affiliates or joint ventures facing direct competition from state-controlled firms.

A serious issue is the influence of the model on the international trading structure. Geopolitical problems could impact the trading structure.

For developing nations seeking to be competitive globally, state capitalism definitely has an appeal. It gives them a significant advantage in terms of the political influence that would take private firms a long-term to establish.

There would be more constraints on the entry to some international markets for certain firms.

The governments would provide subsidies to facilitate social development. This could have a negative impact on the economy.

The demerits overshadow the merits. The leadership of state capitalism must reduce their mega holdings in preferred firms and boost greater private investment.

To conclude, state capitalism would influence international economic trend significantly, but it would not be able to change the globalization process. State capitalism must negate the internal inconsistencies – the ecological price.

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The Security Intelligence in The Financial Services

Security intelligence is the data related to safeguarding an organization from any outside and inside threats along with the processes, and policies developed to accumulate and evaluate the information.

It can also be referred to as the actual collection, standardization, and analysis of the data created by users, applications, and structures that influence the IT security and risk position of a business.

On a daily basis, information flows in organizations for the senior management to make smart decisions. The various stakeholders (employees, customers, contractors) are interfaced through various technologies.

However, the technological infrastructure can also result in serious security issues. The probable areas of intrusion are unlimited. Security experts and business leaders are trying to find an answer to the question – Is it feasible to have a robust security in an increasingly interfaced environment?

Though the answer is yes, it needs a radical transformation in processes and practices encompassing the financial services sector. The focus is not only on IT. Robust security facilitates a positive customer experience.

Cybercrime and Profitability

Financial institutions are at great risk since they are perceived to be an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a survey by IBM, “Financial markets, insurance, computer and professional services together account for over 40% of all security incidents worldwide.”

The losses, pertaining to cybercrime in other sectors could be due to industrial intelligence and fraud related to intellectual property, but in banking, online fraud is a possibility.

Any fraud related to the intellectual property and industrial intelligence could lead to reduced shareholder value, shut down of the business and net financial losses. These are the issues impacting the global financial sector, not only because the main reasons are not identified or the disruption to the customer is immediate, but also because they can result in a significant loss of money.

As per Andrew Haldane, Financial Stability Director at the Bank of England, “Cyber-risk has become a more pressing concern than economic depression and the Eurozone crisis, as it is a rapidly rising area of risk with potentially systemic implications”.

Comprehending the seriousness of the security risk is only a beginning. Financial institutions must establish an in-depth security intelligence strategy that would enable the financial institutions to have an insight into the perceived threats.

Financial institutions leverage top-notch analytics to get an understanding of:

The types of attacks that are occurring.
The probable source of the attacks.
The technology used by the cyber criminals.
Weak spots that could be exploited in the future.

Michael Davison, Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, stated,” There’s not another single issue that unites the interests of so many people at senior levels of banks. It unites technology, the CFO, security and compliance functions. But cybersecurity is also mission critical for people running lines of business and who are running P&Ls. So quite rightly it sits on the Board agenda. But there’s still work to do to educate Boards about the urgency of an effective response to the rapidly changing environment.”

Financial institutions must implement the following practices to get the balance between the required innovation and the related risk:

Establish a risk-conscious culture

An organizational transformation with an emphasis on zero tolerance towards a security failure must be established.
An initiative encompassing the organizational hierarchy to execute smart analytics and automated response competencies is needed to identify and resolve issues.

Safeguard the Working Environment

The functions in distinct devices must be examined by a centralized authority and the wide array of information in an institution must be categorized, tagged with its risk profile and circulated to the concerned personnel.

Security Design

The greatest problem with the IT systems and the unnecessary costs is from executing services initially and looking at security afterwards. Security has to be a part of the application from the first phase of design.

Ensure A Safe Environment

If the system is secure, security personnel can monitor every program that’s functioning; ensure it is ongoing and operating at optimal level.

Manage the Network

Organizations that route approved data through controlled entry points will be in a better position to identify and separate the malware.

Cloud Based Security

To prosper in a cloud scenario, organizations should possess the technology to operate in a secluded environment and track probable issues.

Involve Vendors

An organization’s security strategy must also involve its vendors and efforts must be made to establish the best practices among the vendors.

Financial firms have been a major target for malware attacks. Several aspects are impacting the financial sector. The direct connection between the breach of several personally identifiable information (PII) to the profitability has not been lost on the global financial stakeholders. This has led to the implementation of several global security projects.

A hazardous type of malware for online financial transactions is “Man-in-the-Browser” intrusions. It happens when a malicious program affects an internet browser. The program adjusts activities conducted by the user and in some instances, can initiate actions independently. It could lead to online stealing.

Financial institutions that can transform radically at a fundamental level, the way they function would be safeguarded.

The aim of enterprise security could initially emphasis on IT structures, it must be extended from the technology personnel & their systems to each individual within the organization, and all the stakeholders conducting business with it.

Financial firms must comprehend the data that they have, which must be made available to the system, where they can compare and develop a real understanding of the actual threats and contingencies that may compromise the business.

Money and Power

If anyone wants to know why money was invented they need to look at the power that it generates. Politically it is the mainstay of governments while religiously it has grown gods and made their organisations indispensable. So where does it fit into the scheme of human behaviour and why is it at the root of the World Order? One could may assume that something other than an invented commodity would fit that role so why doesn’t it?

When humans took to a sedentary life and gave up wandering the forests and taking their food from the land, as God originally intended, they had time to think about other things. In the depositions of their living areas archaeologist have uncovered tales of their development from what might be termed primitive living to the more sophisticated trade deals and exchange of goods.

Other things crop up as well and chief among them is the religious side of life and the sacred sites where they imprinted their feelings and beliefs on items in art form. Over time the images became ever more lifelike and their meanings clearer. It was there where my research discovered the power.

It came first in the form of an exchange between humanity and the Sun-God. This unmistakable giving of life for prosperity permeates the ancient world and mysterious sites, like Stonehenge in England, or the temples of the Maya in Mexico. They stand as fortresses of power holding a code within that is only now interpretable.

My reincarnation and evidence that there is no heaven or hell is behind my ability to look at these sites from a different perspective and without the religious bias to better understand their meaning. It is a fact that the ancients were desperate to communicate with the sun and they worked out ways to do that. One way was to send a man up riding the cross as a kite to mate with the Mother God. This is shown in rock art in Nordic regions, such as Ostergotland (star of god’s land).

Dispersed light creates rings of seven colours, the same as the rainbow, and the number for ‘her’ is ‘seven’. The man is number 8 and multiplied together 7×8 is 56, the number of holes in the outer circle of Stonehenge. Both these numbers are linked to ancient beliefs that carry over into modern religious practices.

There are 7 candles on the altar of Christian churches, and 7 lights in the normal Jewish menorah, and so on. There are also 7 days of the week and 3×7 is 21, another mystical number. The 3 represents the ancient trinity of Mother God, sun and light.

Stonehenge displays the practice of exchanging god-men on crosses for fertility of the earth. The core of the site is the horse-shoe shape enclosed by the trilithons, made of 2 upright stones with a cap supporting them are the top. The ‘horse’ features prominently in ancient rituals and the white horse was etched out of the underlying chalk in several places in both Britain and Europe.

In time the use of circles as a symbol of exchange gave rise to the coins that were imprinted with the king’s head because he was supposedly the one married to the sun. The magic of handing over his image in exchange for goods took hold and gave rise to the monetary system. It was enhanced by Constantine, who established the Catholic Church in the year 325. He is also the one who organised the system of commerce that is still in play.

The circle with cross symbol is found in and around many sites on every inhabited continent and the first coins were of the same symbol. Later the king’s head was put inside the circle to suggest he is the thing that is the metaphor of the exchange. It provided extra power to the money, while that term comes from ‘moni’ or ‘man in the eye.’