Adam Smith was a Socialist

It is my realisation that, through reading “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” in addition to “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” through synthesis, that Adam Smith was a Socialist.

What do I mean by Socialist? Not the American assumption of command economy. It may conform to the generally accepted definition of a system where the means of production is owned by the people. In a way, through Moral Sentiments one can see that in a society in such a perfect equilibrium the tendency will be towards a scenario where the means of production is owned by the entirety of society.
Albeit, what I mean by Socialist is the belief that the needs of society as a whole takes precedence over the needs of any particular individual. What Smith argued was that in a society that is moral, where ethical checks and balances are in place, the needs of society can be fulfilled through the individual’s pursuit of self-interest. The premises of Smith’s argument is the existence of an egalitarian society with moral checks and balances.

For many outside of Africa, and some in Africa, it is strange that Africa is predisposed to socialism in the Marxian perspective. To me this makes perfect sense for various factors, but paramount among them is the affects of colonialism.
Societies were turned into extractive vassals in the service of imperial servitude. Through colonialism the pre-existing society with its moral and ethical sentiments were disrupted to near annihilation. The end of colonial rule did not decolonise the continent. The same patterns of extraction exist and they keepo existing because there has been no mending of the moral checks and balances. How can there be ethical equilibrium, when the west has not mended or changed its unethical behaviour?

If the west wants to see an Africa that embraces Smith above Marx, it will need to make reparations and end its extractive view of Africa.


Every Table Funding Model

I watched this vid from FreeThink on Youtube. The funding model is pretty inspirational. Here is why I think it can work very well.

In financing, profit is made from gathering information. Firstly gathering information about new loan candidates and secondly through monitoring borrowers. This means you need to look out for two thing: Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection. As long as you can control for those two you make buckets. Adverse Selection has to do with the fact that people who are least likely to pay-off loans being the the biggest demanders of loans making the screening process difficult. Through the foundation and this franchise system where they screen the potential franchisees in the process they described with Dorcia (existing hard working employees) you are able to control for Adverse Selection. Moral Hazard is the risk associated with actions someone takes once you have given them the loan, like making risky business moves instead of what the business loan was intended for. This is controlled for through restrictive covenants (the items in a loan agreement that you’re not allowed to do or have to do while paying off a loan) and collateral (things you can lose if you don’t honour the conditions of the loan). The franchise acts as collateral and the more work she puts into it the more valuable it becomes, making her less likely to participate in actions that can be regarded as moral hazard. The key here is that the franchise setup and processes are fairly restrictive and enables the granter of the loan monitoring capacity.

If loan providers have the confidence that they are choosing the right people and that their debtors will keep paying, loans will be available. For poor communities the problem is usually collateral. Because information gathering and monitoring is so expensive, collateral is used. This is an instrument that decreases the need for spending too much on monitoring and enforcing restrictive covenants, because the desire to protect your collateral acts as a built-in enforcer. A funding model like this, the collateral is generated by the success of the franchise.

This kind of funding is what small local banks use to do efficiently. When the banker knew the people personally, or the town was small enough that they (singular) could phone around to make sure they were avoiding adverse selection, “riskier” loans could be made. In the modern era of big banks everyone is a profile and the information gathering and approvals are done through credit scores. This means people like Dorcia, and me, are less likely to get a bank loan. Or if we do, the interest payments are prohibitively high. Foundational funding like described in the video is an excellent way to mitigate this.


Crypto and the end of stability

If crypto ever replaced FIAT (without ceding some form of input on supply to monetary policy agencies) the instruments used to keep recessions from wiping out the economies of entire nations will be gone. So will the instruments that countries going through what Japan is going through now (fully industrialised country going through a population collapse) needs to keep their economy going. In favour of a crypto future, I can see a scenario where crypto was plugged into credit markets, stock exchanges, employment data and a host of other econometric data. Then it might work . However, we (economists) don’t know enough yet to make a magic algorithm. We will need maybe another century of data with various policy option being followed before this can be attempted. Plus, it leaves little space to innovate. Such a crypto will then have to be country or region differentiated, and demand that a regional/country/state/nation-state government obeys by the recommendations of the algorithm of the crypto. This will be needed to help struggling regions become more competitive and recover from recessions. The crypto will then determine and create government bonds too. Governments will only be able to spend what the crypto states. Governments will probably try to game the system. The same with certain investors. So basically, the entire economy will need to be run by an algorithm?


Demystifying Managed Hosting

Hosting can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around. For instance if you google hosting you will get a barrage of hosting solutions listing all kinds of shiny toys that are apparently included. But do you know what really applies to your needs?

But what is actually on offer?


This is most likely the first product that you will come across.

There will be a variety of options that almost all list “services” they include such as the number of databases, FTP accounts, mailboxes or email address etc. All of this is just glitter, when in reality, packages are only based on one criteria: The amount of space or memory that your website and “glitter” will use on their server. 

For example – if a service listed is “unlimited emails” but the space is 5gb then in actual fact you do not have unlimited emails, you are limited to the amount of space provided; if your website uses 4gb you actually only have 1gb of email, not unlimited.

Self-hosted shared hosting is made for small businesses or personal blogs where the client either has the technical skills and time to be a webmaster, has a webmaster on staff or will employ one on an hourly bases. The kinds of skills required will most likely be advertised as “system administrator” or “webmaster.”

Hosting providers might talk about “unlimited traffic” which will inevitably have an asterisk attached to it. This is because traffic is not measured and the client’s web app is on a shared server. If a server has an issue, one of their system administrators will identify clients that are hogging the resources, make the website unavailable and then notify the client that they will need to be moved to a cloud or other form of dedicated or managed hosting. If you read the fine print, it will clearly state that the product is for small enterprises only.

Menge Media does not offer self-managed shared hosting. We have no intention of ever offering such a service and our business is not geared for this.


Managed hosting is where certain aspects of the system administration involved in operating a dedicated server is managed by the hosting provider.

This service is usually only offered as part of renting a whole dedicated server – It comes in different flavours such as cloud, VPS and dedicated stand-alone servers. The key here is that either the hardware, software or both are managed by the hosting provider.

Menge Media offers a variety of Managed Server Hosting solutions and we can craft one to the needs of the individual client. Whether you need dedicated servers for your online store, enterprise mail servers or cloud storage, we can tailor a competitive and hassle-free solution for you. We also have pre-packaged solutions as a starting point.

However, for smaller clients a dedicated server is not justifiable. The price is too high to rent an entire server, yet they need a solution that includes the benefits associated with managed hosting. For this reason we offer a best of both worlds solution called Website Managed Hosting


Website Managed Hosting is a hassle free hosting solution. This means that we take away the need for you to have a system administrator or webmaster on staff to deal with security updates, backups and the general health of your website and the server it is hosted on.

It would be an error to compare Website Managed Hosting to self-hosted shared hosting. This is a grossly inadequate comparison. However, if you do, take the following into consideration:

Make concession in your analysis for an hour or two every month of system administration which will have to be included in a fair comparison (our rates are here or look for alternatives here). But even such a comparison will be inadequate.

Our Website Managed Hosting does not throw your website onto a server with hundreds of other clients fighting for resources. Our clients enjoy the kind of dedicated RAM access which large hosting companies only make available as an entry product to cloud or other dedicated server hosting solutions.

Our servers have multicore CPUs – even an entry level cloud server from Afrihost gives less access to CPU cores than our clients enjoy. The number of CPU cores is the most important factor for web apps to cope with high volumes of traffic.

So basically, to summarise and make it easier – for a fair comparison you will need to look at:

  • An entry level dedicated server, dependent on the RAM and CPU cores you require. On Afrihost this might be Bronze or Silver which you can find by clicking here.
  • Setup costs (A system administrator for a full day, possibly more)
  • Running cost (A system administrator for an hour or two every month to keep things running smoothly)
  • The interaction and organising of the above, which can be incredibly time consuming. 

You may ask yourself why it is so difficult to find exact comparisons online. Why can’t I find a similar product to Menge Media’s Managed Website Hosting solution? The reason for this is that this level of service is usually included within a bigger offering. It might form part of SEO management, a full advertising retainer or as mentioned above, a dedicated server. Frankly our own analysis found that it is best to only offer this to clients who commit to such services. The resources involved, both on physical hardware and our time spent delivering the service does not justify offering the service as a stand-alone. 

For this reason our Website Managed Hosting now has specific stringent criteria. It is a service intended specifically as a bonus for clients who use our other services.

Please take a look at our packaged services under the services menu and make sure to read the fine print. 

We found a few comparable packages elsewhere here, here and here. If the same product or service is offered we can possibly match or beat their price. 


Opinion Piece – The horn of Africa and South East Asia

Yesterday I read about a report on the international elicit Rhino Horn trade. The report is the result of an incredibly important investigation undertook by Los Angles based NGO Elephant Action League. 

Every time something about Rhino pouching comes up I see a number of ignorant comments following it. Almost always without a real solution, just outrage. To the usual dribble, here is my response:

Prohibition increases the price of any product. Chinese/Vietnamese Traditional Medicine has been prescribing Rhino horn as a treatment for MIGRAINES for centuries [That’s right, practitioners of traditional Chinese/Vietnamese medicine will tell you that the aphrodisiac indication is nothing more than a racist myth. The horn is not located in the groin area and thus goes completely against the principles of the practice]. 

Even though clinical trials have shown its effectiveness as no more than placebo, the treatment does continue. If you think thats stupid or ignorant, consider that homeopathy has many, many more studies over decades showing it’s also no more effective than placebo. 

You might say: “But this treatment, even if it worked, is causing the destruction of an entire species!” To that I say, consider the anti-vac movement. Here you have parents who are so scared of having to adjust their parenting to “cope” with a child who has ADHD that they are willing to gamble with the life of their babies. Not just that, they are putting the species as a whole at risk. Unvaccinated children are putting human herd immunity at risk. When the percentage of children who aren’t vaccinated reaches a certain point, we have outbreaks of those diseases. Diseases which have been thought to be eradicated decades ago.

Right, so now that we have established that it would be fundamentally hypocritical to condemn societies with users of rhino horn, how do we address this issue?

How do we end the poaching of Rhinos? 

We tackle prohibition. Rhino horn can be harvested without killing a rhino. Yes, it does mean they need to be placed under anaesthesia, but it’s already being done as a preventative method. The horn takes between a year and eighteen months to grow back. Perfect interval for medical checkup anyway.

Then “dispense” the horn at licensed treatment centres located on rhino reserves and proceeds going to conservation.

Effectively we can satisfy the top end of the market. As with alcohol after the end of prohibition in the USA and drugs in Portugal in the naughties (2000s), once you remove prohibition, the price drops heavily. I don’t think we will eradicate demand completely, but I believe it will lower prices to a level where poaching becomes unprofitable.


Green-washed journalism

“Who gives a %$^& about the environment?” you could imagine a popular British motoring-show presenter exclaim this to some ill comic effect. Ironically, the presenter I may be referring to could be living on a farm in rural England. Very much caring about the environment. He simply puts it back of mind as he accelerates his high performance vehicle around a bend in a quint little farm road, hugged by hedgerows.

If he did not give a toss, would he not be living in a highly industrialised city, breathing in the “beautifully enriched” air? 

“Carbon is good for the atmosphere!” you may hear a flippant Australian journalist exclaim. Ironically, I agree, if the entire planet’s dry-ground was covered by thick forests, yes, then it would be.

I was recently sitting in a restaurant, minding my own business. In the section I was, a group of three senior, well-to-do, men were sitting having their lunch, wine and sudo-intellectual conversation. You know the accent, the accent that is unpolluted by American TV or East-Rand “Chic.” The one that puts the BBC to shame… more english than the Queen. I could not stop myself from eavesdropping. 

I tried to block out the conversation as much as I possible could. Until I heard that quote that seriously irks me: “This Icelandic Volcano, a few years ago? One volcano like this pushes more carbon into the atmosphere than all of mankind has in its entire history…”

Yes, it upset me. I restrained myself. Well, I tried. I calmly raised from my seat and walked over to the table of elderly distinguished gentlemen. 

“Excuse me.”

They ignore me, whether to block out this ‘pleb’ or because they have grown collectively hard of hearing, I could not tell.

“Excuse me, terribly sorry to disturb your conversation” I said, reclaiming my learnt accent from my stint living in Berkshire, England. Still, the response I needed was not forthcoming. 

I tapped the gentlemen closest to me on the shoulder, and repeated my words.

Now I had their attention, however judgemental their collective glare may have been. I had an audience, and once I have one, I will make my point.

I continued to educate the elders referring to the effect’s of global dimming. My arguments found fertile ground, and soon they were educated on the difference between industrial atmospheric pollution and natural phenomena and how it effect the hydrological cycle (rainfall, dude.) 

I must confess, my teaching was a little warped: On researching this article, I found that human activity pumps “roughly 135 times as much climate-warming carbon dioxide as volcanoes each year” I could have made my statement with that little factoid, but my argument was clear and they followed my reasoning. 

I believe that at least one of those three men will be one of the first owners of an electric vehicle when they finally decide to grace our shores. Another may reconsider removing his catalytic converter from his sports-car. In the meantime, let us not be effected by the arrogance of witty climate-change-denier journalists. Let us, the people, the entrepreneurs, the activists, the arm-chair politicians, the directors of corporations, but most of all, us, the consumers make an informed decision and drive the world towards a better future. A future, where a motoring journalist can accelerate his Tesla Roadster on a beautiful country road, without negatively effecting the environment, or misinforming the public. 


Who killed the Joole?

It was recently announced that The Joole project was cancelled due to a lack of funding.

If funding is such an issue it sparks the question: “Why are there not a any South Africans like Elon Musk?” Wait a moment, you might interject, was Elon Musk, not born and breed in South Africa?” Well, this may be true, but this man, whom I might say is a close contender to be my greatest living, (unassisted) breathing hero, does not completely identify with South Africa. He moved to north America when he was barely an adult and made his billions from PayPal in California. The only give away is the strange combination of flat South African accent and blend of North-American twang that makes him sound strangely Australian. He has been and still is the champion of the Electric Car. He took his money he made from PayPal and invested vast amounts into producing a viable Electric Car. The Tesla is the car that makes people realise the potential, the viability and the sheer sexiness of Electric. I would go as far as saying that Tesla is pushing the entire auto-industry to reconsider their reliance on the internal combustion engine. With much reluctance. This reluctance is probably due to the internal combustion engine lending itself to a very important principle needed in business: “Sustainable.” 

The internal combustion engine lends itself to designed obsolescence. A business technique used in almost all industries to assure that their market is always there. If you make cars you will need to have your customers coming back, otherwise it just won’t be viable to produce ion the masses that they do. The internal combustion engine’s vibration and heat ads to the ageing effect of the car. 

It is only now that the industry is waking up to the fact that the life span of a battery, and the sheer proportion of the cost price of the car that will insure returning customers, albeit a lot later. Rav4 EV’s from the mid 90’s still do okay with little damage to their bodies compared to the ageing that their brother Rav4 went through. But any battery ages, and in time your range on a charge becomes less and less. But this is only after 10 to 15 years.

So, the Joole project got shelved due to a lack of funding. If only we had a South African internet billionaire…