Conflicts of Interest

undertheradar's picture

Two examples today of the strange way things work here in the Netherlands regarding conflicts of interest. Of course we know that things are getting increasingly blurry wherever you are between government, regulators and corporations. I'll be interested to hear what you think about the whole issue.

The first example is for a business that tests LED lamps and publishes the results on the internet. The people that run the tests both work full time at Philips. Maybe not on the lamps themselves. This week they were on a consumer program explaining the basics what to look for in a LED and where they are most suitable.

Do you think Philips should take a firmer stance on this? Wouldn't it look more confident of them if they made sure their employees were not involved promoting certain technologies they also sell?

I'm not saying LED technology is bad necessarily. And I certainly wouldn't stop anyone from buying a light bulb of their choosing. I've even heard quite a few positive comments online about Philips LEDs especially from those living in the States. But who should be providing information on them? And are there any more criteria missing from the evaluation?

http://kassa.vara.nl/tv/afspeelpagina/fragment/test-wat-is-een-goede-led...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WPrTk90VZM

The second example is a quick outline of another organisation set up to promote the financial industry in the Netherlands. The Holland Financial Centre is in the news. Looks like it will be shut down, but who knows. It was run by Sjoerd van Keulen who was previously CEO of newly nationalized SNS Reaal. It was an organization made up of representatives from government, banks and supervisors.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/02/holland_financial_centre_c...

http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/02/06/stichting-holland-financial-centre-s...

http://www.nu.nl/economie/3128835/holland-financial-centre-stopt-sns-deb...

Of course the whole worldwide financial industry is one complex maze of organizations and rules and every country wants to own as lucrative piece of it as possible. In fact it's so complex these days that it is almost impossible to regulate appropriately. Because there is constant competition for the business.

My sense is that rules are being slackened instead instead of being improved or enforced. That probably isn't a good thing ultimately in a fiat money system that faced a mishap in 2008 we have just begun paying off as taxpayers.

The Brits are talking about electric fencing their banks but not actually splitting them up. There seem to be lots of half measures going around that won't be robust the next time a really big disaster hits.