Which country is better to start an executive limousine business, the United Kingdom of the USA?

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How do Americans feel about their country not being a participant to the International Criminal Court?

The general presumption, which has a lot of valid reason behind it, is that the US would be targeted politically in many of the places that it operates its many armed forces.

Being constantly subject to a more pacifist EU-centered world court would make police-type actions by the US essentially impossible. It could even make our standard deployment of armed forces to bases around the world too difficult.

Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's not. I personally doubt that a world without the US operating in some variant of its current international form would be safer or less violent. But, it would save us a lot of money. Perhaps the resulting several decades of increased violence from a US withdrawal would lead to some better way of managing the world, without it costing us money and troops. I don't see what that might be, but destruction and creativity often go together.

The US also has a strong undercurrent of fear of world government, as part of its inherent xenophobia. That faction barely tolerates the UN, and would fight against being subject to the ICC with an incredible array of vitriolic nonsense. It's also amusing (or perhaps sad) that the xenophobes and the strong militart interventionists are the same people.


Trump? I take all of that back. It applied in some alternate reality that no longer exists.

To what extent is Apple shifting manufacturing to the United States?

Right now Apple produces the sapphire components for its TouchID fingerprint center at a plant in Arizona that employs 2000 workers (Apple creates 2,000 jobs shifting production back to US).

The Mac Pro is also now assembled in the US at a Texas facility that has around 1700 workers.

There is also speculation that Apple will join Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Motors) in his efforts to create the Gigafactory somewhere in the Western US, which would be the largest battery-producing facility in the world and reportedly would directly employ approximately 6500 workers.

How hard is it to become President of the United States?

One way of thinking about it is that a huge percentage of the most talented people in the U.S. fantasize about becoming president. There's no other job that so many talented people aspire to. And in any given generation (say, there's a 30-year window for any given person), there are only 4-6 people who get the job.

And there aren't really 4-6 totally "open" slots because:

  • Whoever is Vice President has a pretty clean shot at the nomination.
  • In any given generation, certain strong contenders run multiple times.

So basically, this is the most competitive tournament in the world.

Do you think your vote counts?

I live in Los Angeles County. There are 10 million people here. The budget of the county is 26 billion dollars and it is controlled by five people. Everybody knows the names of those five people because they have been in politics since we were kids. Everybody keeps voting for those same people and nobody cares. We don't know exactly where the money comes from and we don't know exactly where it goes.

Think of it this way. Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant where a man is trying to impress his date? They spend all kinds of money on food, but the food is not so important. It's not about eating; it's not about solving a hunger problem. It's about impressing the lady. That's how our democracy works. It's all about impressing the voter, not about solving the problem, but showing that you can finesse the voter with a fancy plate of issues, policies and rhetoric.

We have a fancy plate of services as voters, but America is a fancy restaurant. The we only get to vote from the expensive menu because America is rich. So what happens? We order whatever, we don't like it we send it back making a big fuss, we try something fashionable, and we never finish and we throw food away.

Many people I have met from other countries are surprised about the existence of dog food in America. Yes, we have so much that even dogs and cats get an expensive menu, and we pat ourselves on the back to show that we can care about anything to any degree.

You asked if my vote counts? Not really.We voters are only asked on the date once every two or four years. We don't get to see the kitchen. We don't know how the food is prepared. We only get to see the expensive menu. Everyday politics in America is like reading restaurant critics, just waiting for the next date.

Once, when we lived in small towns with very small government budgets, the vote counted for a lot more. Maybe we'll get back to that. Maybe we'll even learn how to cook for ourselves.

Why have EU countries grown more slowly than the U.S. in recent years?

I would like to start with challenging the premise of the question. While the EU economy as a whole has grown more slowly than the US economy, some countries within the EU have done very well since the 2008 Financial Crisis.
Data from United Nations Statistics Division

There is a very clear regional divide in economic growth in the EU. While countries in the Baltic Region have done well, countries next to the Mediterranean Sea continue to suffer from economic decline.

The euro is at least partially responsible for this regional divide. The introduction of the euro led to a convergence of interest rates across the EU. This meant that from 2001 to 2009, countries like Greece could borrow money at the same interest rate as Germany despite its much weaker financial situation.
More information: fxtimes.com

This led to a period of easy money for the Mediterranean region as investments poured into projects which carried more fiscal risk than interest rates implied. The influx of money led to increased consumer spending, but did not lead to gains in productivity. When the money stopped coming in following the Financial Crisis, these countries were left with overvalued labor and an anemic industrial base.

These problems persist though because, unlike in the past, they cannot revalue their currency to make their industries more competitive. Their poor performance puts pressure on the euro to decline in value, but the strong performance of the Baltic region puts pressure on the euro to increase in value. This is known as asymmetric shock. Planet Money goes into more detail about this in a recent episode: Episode 542: Can An Economy Be Too Good?

Going back and looking at the EU as a whole, there is another important factor to consider: population growth. Changes in population are a major contributor to economic growth. An increase in population will almost invariably lead to an increase in economic activity. Over the period from 2009 to 2012, the EU population increased by 0.8% while the US population increased by 2.6%.

We can control for this variable by looking at GDP per capita.
While the US maintains a lead in economic growth, it is much closer to the EU once population is accounted for.

What are the steps involved in getting an H1B after I797 approval?

  • Online:- You need to fill up your personal info for completing DS-160. Finalizing and submitting the DS-160 will give you a unique token using which you can pay the visa consulate fees. Once you finalize and submit the DS-160, you cannot make any changes to the information you entered in the personal details form.
  • Online/In Person:- You need to pay the visa consulate fees either online using netbanking or at Axis/Citibank. This gives you another token using which you can schedule your appointments at the OFC and Visa Consulate.
  • Online:- Use the token provided to you from the visa consulate fees payment to schedule an appointment – one for fingerprinting at the OFC and one for the actual visa interview. This is done online at the site where you can track your appointment and (once your visa is approved) your passport delivery status.
  • In Person:- You need to go to the OFC with the appointment letter generated by the scheduler in the previous step. The documents you need to carry are mentioned on the appointment letter, and will certainly include the passport (valid for at least 6 more months), the DS-160 completion printout, and the appointment letter. Your picture for the visa and your fingerprints will be taken at the OFC.
  • In Person:- You need to appear for the visa interview at the consulate mentioned on your appointment letter. The documents you need to carry are mentioned on the appointment letter, and will certainly include the passport (valid for at least 6 more months), the DS-160 completion printout, the appointment letter, and the I797 approval (specific to H1B; everything else applies to any visa type).
  • In Person:- Assuming your visa is approved, you will get a mail (typically within a few hours) stating that your passport is ready to be collected at the OFC. Carry your appointment letter, an ID and its photocopy to the OFC to collect your passport. The appointment letter is not mandatory but speeds up the process of passport collection. Your ID will be checked and its photocopy retained by the teller before he hands you the passport with the visa stamped in it.
  • Caveats:- You cannot interview for the H1B visa before July 1 (3 months before the H1B status kicks in). You cannot travel to the United States before September 21 (10 days before the H1B status kicks in).