Chile is the FIRST country in the world to adopt Net Neutrality

wow….

The headline says it all. If you are a little tech interested you might have followed the discussion in the US where Verizon and Google have formed a contract framework giving power to the big wireless networks potentially allowing content creators to pay for preferential treatment. An example could be Google saying they will pay more to have faster service for YouTube or in the extreme case Verizon can say we will have an exclusive contract with a Hollywood studio but the movie is only distributed on “Verizonnet” (not the internet).

Obviously (and thankfully) there is a huge outcry asking if this is the end of the free and open internet. I oversimplified it as Google & Verizon came out with a joint press conference in which they claimed they wanted to protect the internet as it is but want the mobile web non regulated. For better and more in depth analysis go and read multiple stories here: http://techme.me/=uVd

So what does that have to do with Chile?

Chile is the first country in the world which tells the Internet Service Providers (VTR, Telefonica etc….) that they have to treat every internet site the same. If you as a customer pay for 50GB it is not up to your Internet Service Provider to tell you what you can and cannot watch and which service will be faster or slower. Bravo Chile…. Way to go…. & Dear US & Rest of the world – Don’t let the “Do no evil company” and Verizon get away with pretending to be the all goods and do no harms & let the mobile internet be as open as the good old internet is….

Source covering Chiles Law (in Spanish)

Image Source

The Santiago Economy is growing again

My wife works very closely with the big retailers here in Chile and she estimates that November will be better then what Forbes writes about October.

Santiago retail sales expanded 3 percent in the first 10 months of the year, and the chamber estimates sales in the capital will grow about 3.5 percent this year from 2008.

Head over to Forbes to read the rest:

Forbes.com: Santiago Chile retail sales up 9.3 pct in October

Is Argentina a "Banana Republic"?

 

..that is what we in Austria call countries where there is no consistency in laws and you cannot trust your politicians.

See here the meaning of Banana Republic

There have been many examples (please add your examples in the comments) about bad politics in Argentina and I will list the ones that I have heard about through international media (mostly economist) here:

Current event: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (the president) is working on a law to impose a new electronic tax on TV’s, Laptops, personal Computers, GPS Navigation Systems and phones if they are not produced in the south of Argentina. This will raise the VAT of such goods to 21% from previously 10.5% . Now the populist President calls things like laptops and computers luxury goods and this is the reason why she had proposed this law. The problem as I see it: A GPS system or a PC will never be produced in Argentina anyway. All that can and might happen is that they will be assembled in Argentina so the Argentinean companies will buy the usual components (GPS modules, computer chips, batteries, lcd screens etc…) from foreign companies and assemble them in Argentina. In my opinion two things will happen: Some people will build these assembling companies in the south of Argentina but not many. Reason being in a "Banana Republic" laws change quickly and there is no guarantee of investment. Imagine building a factory and then 1 year later the law which was responsible for you building the factory changes. Goods produced in Argentina will become more expensive as there is a lot less competition. The rich Argentinian consumers will still be able to afford computers and will mostly bring them from their holidays in Chile, Uruguay or the US but the poor will be pushed out and that is a real shame / no computer / no access to knowledge.

This is bad because there are foreign companies that have invested in Argentina and created good jobs there. The mostly Argentinean employees of these corporations will suffer. But it is worse because the general Argentinean consumer will suffer by paying higher prices for luxury goods (sic) – essential goods like a computer (!) It is hard enough for Argentineans to afford a computer right now.

While I did not find a international price comparison for Computers here is one for TV’s before the new tax

 

Lets hope the Argentinan MP’s don’t vote for this new “luxury tax”.

There is a Facebook cause which you can join and there are also blogs which have been created to speak about this issue: No Al Impuestazo tecnologico

This is my personal opinion about Argentinian politics. I like the people, the food and the country itsself but the politics are terrible. If you have an opinion I invite you to state it in the comments below. Feel free to comment in English or Spanish or even in German (I volunteer for translating the German 😉

The Chilean Finance Minister

Andre’s Velasco the Chilean Finance minister
picture from wikimedia

 

There is a great story on Bloomberg about the Chilean Finance Minister Andrés Velasco and the government savings from Copper which he is starting to spend to stimulate the Chilean economy. The article is really well written and there is not one good part to cite. If interested you will have to read it all. The good news is that Chile will manage this economic down turn better than most developed countries and a lot better than other Latin American countries. Read the article here –>

My previous post about the Chilean economy can be found here: Chile’s economy

Fake Argentinean Pesos

Liz and I where in Buenos Aires Argentina for the Easter weekend. We had an amazing time. We spent 2 nights at Rocio’s and Malcolm’s two friends. Rocio, who is originally Argentinian lived with Liz in Mexico City for a while and are a little bit like sisters. They live in Tigre which is a part of Buenos Aires. They have a really nice house with swimming pool and we enjoyed a Argentinean BBQ and had a lot of fun.. We also saw Buenos Aires but that’s not what I want to write about in this moment.

I want to write about fake money instead.

I received 20 Argentinean pesos, worth about 5 dollars. I do not recall from where but next time I wanted to use them to pay I was told they are fake. Even though I was told the 20 Argentinian pesos were fake I did not believe it. Who would print 20 fake pesos if they are only worth 5 USD. The cost of printing must be high, then getting them in to the money chain etc…

Anyway once I compared the fake with a different note it became clear that the Notes is indeed fake. Not even fake but a bad copy. See for yourself:

 

Fake Argentinean Pesos

In the above picture it is obvious the left is the fake.

.Fake Argentinean Pesos

The top Note is the fake one. I plan to elaborate more on Argentina but do take good care when receiving change. Best is probably to pay everything by Credit or Debit Card and then keep on checking your Credit Card statements to see if someone has cloned the card.

I am getting some easy to resist advertising deals offered ;) for andreinchile.com

These are two easy to resist ad offers I received in the past days:

Hi, I will give you $25 (they did not tell me for how long – per day? per month? for ever?) in exchange for placing a text ad for an international calls provider on this page: Sorry Vodafone I am using your free Minutes to call abroad for free Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks, Stephanie

The next resistable offer I received: Continue reading “I am getting some easy to resist advertising deals offered 😉 for andreinchile.com”

The worst is still to come / House prices

Today I looked back at an old post of mine from April 2007. Here is the link and an excerpt:

 

Anyone not agree that these are the signs of the hype coming to an end?

Buyers camp out to secure a home”

“Share to buy a joint mortgage for young professionals”

17 day queue for MOD home

Please use common sense!!! Please!!! price in Cambridge (only one example) the picture looks dodgy (scruffy horrible house)

Cherry Hinton (near Cambridge) – 3 Bed Terrace House offers around £235,000

Rent in Cherry Hinton for a 3 Bed House (near Cambridge): £ 10,800 per year

So lets do the maths, shall we? The return on the £235,000 is an astonishing 4.6 %!!! BUT: What about things breaking or repairs? Did you know you receive about 5% on a savings account from ING (as an example).

Picture from Metro article: 17 day queue for MOD home

The “real” crash has not yet happened but is sure to come. Unfortunately we are heading in to a recession with full steam. People will start loosing their jobs, defaulting on their mortgage payments. Houses will be repossessed but there will not be enough buyers as first time buyers wont receive mortgages and others will not be willing to invest in a falling market. Renters might get less as many immigrants are leaving the country some evidence here and here. So if you have some cash / hold on to it and wait for the bubble to burst. This might be an opportunity to buy a house on the cheap..