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Hello 2018

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Here we are again, beginning another year of blogging. We do so with optimism and determination. A New Year is a chance for a new start and we are raring to go. It’s great to be back online broadcasting views and opinions from Gateway.

It’s been six weeks since I published my last post. I religiously publish new content every Monday morning by 10:00 Sydney time. However, I take an annual break from my blogging duties over the Christmas/New Year period as many regular readers are away at this time.

Taking a short time out from the rigours of weekly posts enables me to recharge my batteries. I don’t hibernate during January but use the quiet time to reflect on the year ahead and what needs to be done. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on a variety of topics during 2018.

I trust that you had a wonderful time with family and friends over the summer holiday season. The weather in Sydney was great and I hope that you enjoyed the warm outdoors. Of course, my Northern Hemisphere readers would have been indoors and rugged up against the harsh winter.

This time of year sees many of us set worthy goals for ourselves. It’s a time to reflect on the changes that we want to make in our lives. Many people make bold New Year promises but do not stick to them. I’ll have more to say about that next week.

For now, it’s my hope that the world can live in greater harmony during 2018. The past 12 months witnessed growing instability caused by the rise in populism, the slowdown in China, the Brexit fallout in Europe and the divisive election in America.

These are all referred to as geopolitical events. Such events - along with wars, terrorism and other political tensions - affect the normal and peaceful course of international relations. This instability, in turn, is reflected in financial markets as uncertainty impacts investment and spending decisions.

More formally, geopolitics is defined as the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on international politics. Put another way, it examines how people (culture, demographics and economics) and terrain (control of territory and natural resources) affect the affairs of state.

Geopolitics was the single biggest factor influencing the global economy in 2017. In many countries there were challenges to free market capitalism. In the face of economic challenges, the isolationist populists advocated trade barriers as cohesion and trust between countries and societies waned.

John Keane from the University of Sydney believes that:

Populism attracts people because it raises their expectations of betterment. But there’s a price. In exchange for promises of popular sovereignty, populism easily mass produces figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Benjamin Moffitt from Stockholm University argues that there are four reasons for the rise of populism:

“The elite” is on the nose, for good reason, in many parts of the world. The shifting media landscape favours the simple, headline-grabbing, dramatic message of populists. Populist actors have become increasingly savvy and increased their appeal over the past decade. Populists have seized the crisis-ridden moment, and have been remarkably successful at not only reacting to crises, but actively aiming to bring about and perpetuate a sense of crisis. Finally, populists have been very effective at exposing the deficiencies of contemporary democratic systems across the globe.

2017 was a year in which social upheaval rose on a torrent of bad news while satisfaction with political leaders fell. Unless things change in 2018, we face a future of widening chaos. Let’s hope that the New Year sees more citizens making decisions based on rational argument rather than popular sentiments.

Wishing all my readers a happy and prosperous 2018.

Regards,
Paul J. Thomas, CEO

Comments

avatar John (JT) Thomas
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Its great to see you back Paul for 2018! 10am Monday morning is not the same if your blog does not pop up on my PC! I hope all of your blogs for 2018 are as good as today's!

well done JT

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avatar Andrew Hedt
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Its great to see you back for 2018 Paul. Wondering what your thoughts are on PayID and Osko? Andrew (AH) Hedt
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avatar Gateway
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Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your comment.

After careful consideration, Gateway has decided to adopt a watching brief regarding PayID (New Payments Platform).

We are aware the Big Banks are early movers, but most other financial institutions, including many retail banks, are keen to see that the operational and security aspects are robust and working before adopting the technology.
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avatar John Clark
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Happy New and best wishes for 2018. It will be very interesting to see how the geopoloitical issues play out!
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CEO Paul Thomas