Macro-econoom Peter De Keyzer: ‘Kies altijd voor de positieve insteek’

We zitten midden in de grootste economische crisis sinds de Grote Depressie, maar is corona alleen maar droefheid of zijn er ook lichtpuntjes te bespeuren? We vroegen het aan rasoptimist Peter De Keyzer.

In 2013 schreef je het boek ‘Groei maakt gelukkig’ waarin jouw visie verwoord staat: optimisme + vrije markt = vooruitgang. Kun jij vertellen hoe jij tot die visie gekomen bent?
“Ik irriteerde mij vaak over hoe er in het publieke debat gesproken werd over het belang van economische groei, internationale handel of de toekomst van de Europese Unie. De werktitel van het boek was eerst ‘de 50 grootste misvattingen over de economie’, maar dat klonk toch wat negatief. Dus ik wilde er liever wat positiefs van maken. Vandaar de titel: ‘Groei maakt gelukkig’. Het boek is een pleidooi voor optimisme, ambitie, zelfredzaamheid, ondernemerschap, vooruitgang en intelligente groei.”

Is jouw visie nog veranderd sinds het schrijven of staat hij nog?
“Deze is alleen nog maar scherper geworden de afgelopen periode. Ik geloof heel sterk in individuele vrijheid, individueel initiatief, de kracht van innovatie, technologie en flexibiliteit. De maatschappij is van nature behoudsgezind. Er is een soort dictatuur van de status quo binnen bedrijven en de maatschappij. Alleen wanneer er een crisis komt wordt het politiek onmogelijke plots het politiek onvermijdelijke. Die processen hebben me altijd gefascineerd.”

In het licht van hoe de wereld er nu voor staat, hoe gaat het met de optimist in jou? Welke positieve ontwikkelingen zie je?
“De digitalisering is iets waar we al heel lang over praten, maar heel weinig aan deden. Vandaag zie je die ontwikkelingen versnellen. De externe omgeving dient als katalysator. Dat is een goede zaak. Het is niet alleen een manier om kosten te besparen, maar het gaat ook om het vinden van nieuwe manieren van samenwerking. Wat ook een positieve kant heeft is dat we door protectionisme meer op onszelf worden teruggeworpen. Dat biedt kansen voor bedrijven die vroeger moesten opboksen tegen bedrijven uit China of elders. En tenslotte vinden op macroniveau ontwikkelingen plaats die heel positief kunnen uitpakken. Iedereen is op zoek naar groei en waarin de overheid moet investeren, zoals infrastructuur, mobiliteit, 5G, digitalisering, lokale productie enzovoorts. Corona kan naast een crisis ook een hele grote economische sprong voorwaarts worden. Dat er vroeg of laat een crisis komt is onvermijdelijk. Hoe je ermee omgaat is een keuze.”

We hebben de lockdown gehad en de economie is voorzichtig weer aan het draaien. Hoe kijk je aan tegen het najaar van 2020?
“Het virus is er nog. Het vaccin is er nog niet. De jury is still out over wat nu de beste manier is om drie zaken met elkaar te verenigen: gezondheid, economie en vrijheid. Je mag er twee van de drie uitkiezen. China kiest voor gezondheid en economie en levert in aan vrijheid. In de VS gaat men voor economie en vrijheid: daar gaat het met de gezondheid weer slecht. In België is meer weerstand tegen een app, dus lijdt de economie meer onder corona. Dat is de keuze die landen moeten maken. Mijn insteek is: wat is je vrijheid waard als je thuis zit en geen kant op kan? Dat doet Nederland dus wel goed.”

Welke langdurige effecten van corona verwacht jij?
“De overheidsbestedingen zijn gigantisch, dus er worden veel schulden gemaakt. Centrale banken zullen die in belangrijke mate absorberen. Daarom zullen korte en lange termijn rentes voor een hele lange tijd nul zijn, verwacht ik. Dat heeft het effect dat de grote corporates zich quasi-gratis kunnen financieren en het midden- en kleinbedrijf – restaurants, event-organisatoren of kledingzaken – over de kop zullen gaan. Hoe snel we weer naar economische groei gaan zal heel sterk afhangen van de evolutie van het virus en hoe snel een vaccin ontwikkeld is. Die onzekerheid betekent voor CFO’s dat ze zullen moeten zorgen voor voldoende cashflow en wendbaarheid. Het kan nog een tijd gaan duren.”

> Lees verder op CFO.nl <<<

 

The White Album Compressed

In the documentary The Beatles Anthology (1995), the three then still living band members discuss their recording history at Abbey Road. The non-Beatle with the greatest influence over these legendary recordings is without a doubt George Martin, sometimes referred to as ‘the fifth Beatle’. The extremely talented producer and musician offers some interesting comments on the production. Especially about the The White Album – the only double album made by the band (not counting Past Masters) – he has an interesting thing to say. He thinks they shouldn’t have made it a double album, but pick the best songs and turn it into a very good, single album.

The band disagreed. McCartney said that the record was fine as it was, remarking: “It was great. It sold. It’s the bloody Beatles’ White Album. Shut up!” Harrison thought a double album was a good idea to clear the backlog of songs the group had at that time, though he also admitted not all songs were that strong.

Reducing the backlog to a single album would have been quite a challenge though. The group had spent a couple of months in Rishikesh, India, for a course in Transcendental Meditation and written no less than 40 songs. George really developed himself as a songwriter during this period. But Lennon also said he wrote some of his greatest songs in India. The White Album contains many fantastic songs, and the fragmented whole is a terrific mix of genres, like folk, country, blues, ska, music hall and avant-garde. Why would one mess with that?

However, as a thought experiment, let’s consider what a single White Album would be like. Some tough decisions would have to be made. It contains 30 songs, and would have to be cut down to 17 (taking Abbey Road as a measure). Which 13 songs would perish?

At the risk of pissing off some fellow Beatles fanatics, I would get rid of these 13 tracks.

Wild Honey Pie (McCartney)
This is just a curious short McCartney thing. No problem dumping this one.
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? (McCartney)
It’s alright, but it’s not great is it?
Yer Blues (Lennon)
A dark and moody song by Lennon, but he did better later in his solo career.
Mother Nature’s Son (McCartney)
Off course it’s an okay song, but if you have to choose between this and the remainders, it is really no choice at all.
Glass Onion (Lennon)
This one I like. I like the guitar play and the references in the lyrics. Still, it’s not brilliant.
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (Lennon)
The longest title of a Beatle track. Do I love this song? No. So it can go.
Helter Skelter (McCartney)
Now this one is a classic and the toughest decision yet. Sorry Paul. We can release it as B-side to a Happiness Is a Warm Gun single maybe.
Long, Long, Long (Harrison)
Never had much use for this track.
Revolution 1 (Lennon)
What?!? How can you get rid of Revolution! One of Lennon’s best songs. Pay attention please. This is Revolution 1, not Revolution that was released as B-side of Hey Jude. And that is a way better version with one of my favorite beginnings of a Beatles-song.
Savoy Truffle (Harrison)
Sorry Harrison, but I don’t care much for a candy addicted Eric Clapton.
Revolution 9 (Lennon)
Nobody is gonna give me a hard time over this one. It was a weird decision to put it on the album in the first place. Nobody listens to it more than once.
Rocky Racoon (McCartney)
George Martin thought this was filler. I disagree. I think it is a great track. But in exercises like this you have to kill your darlings.
Good Night (Lennon, sung by Ringo)
This one I love as well. Painful to let it go, but I must.

And now, we’re left with the Compressed White Album. I’m satisfied. You can find it on Spotify under jkleyngeld. Check it out.

Side one
01. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
02. Piggies
03. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
04. I’m So Tired
05. I Will
06. Cry Baby Cry
07. Julia
08. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
09. Honey Pie

Side two
10. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
11. Birthday
12. Sexy Sadie
13. Back in the U.S.S.R.
14. Don’t Pass Me By
15. Dear Prudence
16. Martha My Dear
17. Blackbird

TV Dungeon: Deadwood

(2004 – 2006, USA)

Creator: David Milch
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown, John Hawkes, Paula Malcomson, Powers Boothe

3 Seasons (36 Episodes)


’Some Fortunes Are Better Left Unclaimed’

Sheriff Seth Bullock, pimp and saloon owner Al Swearengen, prostitute Trixie, and alcoholic Calamite Jane. Just a handful of the colorful characters that inhabit the raw and lawless frontier town of Deadwood. In the midst of Indian land, the late 18th century laws don’t apply. The power lies with Al Swearengen and his cronies. Through deceit, intimidation and murder he controls the town. Al Swearengen is Deadwood. But new opportunists arrive that all want their share of the wealth that the trade and the earth in Deadwood generates.

This is certainly one of the most ambitious productions ever by HBO. Not only ambitious in scale but in storytelling as well. These characters are not your average gunslingers. Creator David Milch wanted to show the west as it really was; dirty and corrupted. Filled with people scheming, swearing and double-crossing their way through life. There were no gunfights every ten minutes. Entrepreneurs operated sneakily to be able to fully profit from the rising economy. Although the show reminds of Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, it is something we haven’t quite seen before.

Deadwood breaks with the typical western tradition. Vicious killers dominate the setting and famous western figures such as Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp are not the legendary characters they are generally made out to be. They are as human as the rest. Plagued by faults, addictions, self-pity and regrets. Despite their raw nature, the characters talk in very complex Shakespearian dialogues (filled with lots of cuss words) which makes it hard to understand their motivations at times. Figuring out the function of some characters in the main storylines is equally challenging. This, and the fact that there are quite a lot of uneventful episodes, could be off-putting for some viewers.

But those willing to invest their time will be rewarded with beautiful art-direction, cinematography and lighting. Not to mention a few shocking surprises and some monumental performances. The most intriguing (and humorous) character by far is Al Swaerengen, wonderfully portrayed by Ian McShane. He can cut a throat without blinking an eye, but is also able to show mercy and understanding to those in a weaker position. Because of his witty lines, amicable moments, and because of the constantly disgusting behavior of Swearengen’s rival Cy Tolliver, one can easily forget that this is an evil man. The frequent reminders of his ambiguity are among the most powerful moments of the show, as well as other character revelations that often occur in the form of extremely violent outbursts or other displays of ugliness.

Besides McShane, the other casting decisions have turned out very well. Timothy Olyphant is in his element as the frustrated lawman Seth Bullock, and Powers Boothe is utterly hideous as the gambling house owner Cy Tolliver. Then there is Molly Parker as the opium addicted Alma Garret, a widow due to Swearengen’s lust for gold. Her character as well as Calamite Jane’s show the independent spirit of the female, since most other women in the town are ruled by men like Swearengen and Tolliver.

The rise of a civilization is shown in many forms. Business opportunities are exploited and political alliances are formed. In the course of the series Deadwood sees the establishment of a hardware store, a school, a theatre and a bank. Also represented is healthcare (Doc Cochran) and the media (the Deadwood Pioneer). The primary human needs in Deadwood seem to be booze and prostitution though. Swearengen and Tolliver are more than willing to provide the people in that department. The church is only present in the form of one reverend who suffers from a brain tumor. Ironically he gets mercy-killed by Swearengen at the end of the first season.

Deadwood is based on real historic persons and events. Although I doubt that they exactly spoke like these characters, the series feels like an authentic vision of the west. Unfortunately it was cancelled after three seasons. 10 years later it was concluded in a TV-movie.

To those who have seen it already, re-watching the show is recommended. Where the first viewing requires concentration, the second time around more subtle things will come to the surface. You got that, you cocksucker!