Having worked in fund management, property, mining and now biotech, Jim Mellon is a man who pulls no punches. In this episode of Meet the Renegades we speak with Jim about business, politics and his view on what is driving the global unravelling. 

The first ticking time bomb is the destruction of the savings industry led by the policies of the U.S. and the Bank of England. Artificially destroying interest rates leads to no returns for people trying to save.

“There’s no return in the zero return world.”

In Jim’s view we have also seen the end of cheap labour capital for manufacturing. The era over the last 20 to 30 years where emerging market countries like China moved into prosperity through manufacturing. Getting the population out of poverty by moving people from subsistence farming into factories to sell goods to the West or Japan is over.  Today’s emerging markets will no longer emulate this – so where from here?

We are now in an era of ‘Onshoring’– where factories are moving back to the point of consumption because automation is allowing that to happen. This move to automation is accelerating very powerfully at the moment and is irreversible.

Robots are cheaper than even the cheapest labor in the emerging markets. This is a factor to which is also driving the tidal wave of migration out of North Africa specifically, or Africa to Europe, or attempted migration to Europe.

But could more automation be a good thing? John Maynard Keynes had predicted that by now we would be working five hours a week and the rest of it be dedicated to be leisure time. We’re not there yet, but could this be true for tomorrow? Yes in Jim’s view – but only for some industries. New skills and education are key as are new ways of working.

Central Bankers and Creative Destruction

From moronic investment decisions in negative interest rate bonds, to illusionary growth through to woefully bad monetary policy, Jim believes that Central Bankers have a lot to answer for – “they have been not just asleep at the switch but actually wilfully negligent.”

“They (Central Bankers) have been not just asleep at the switch but actually wilfully negligent.”

But despite the problems mounting, private debt building and Moore’s Law affecting tech Jim is excited about all of the new technologies that we have which are good.

“I know we living in the golden age of technology.”

Unfortunately, we’ve just got a a little problem of a legacy financial system that’s hindering us.

“So, what we need is a complete crisis in Europe, rip up the rule books and start again.”

Jim shares a few of his thoughts on how to do this.

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Renegade Inc

Renegade Inc. is a new mainstream media platform which creates and broadcasts content aimed at those who think differently.Its mission is to inform, illuminate and inspire, focusing initially on three sectors: entrepreneurship, self-learning and the arts.
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5 thoughts on “Meet the Renegades: Jim Mellon

  1. Some interesting points but practical quantum computing is way off. So QC is not the answer to our immediate tech future.

    There is lots of interesting stuff in pharma/biotech/medtech, and the young people who do applicable degrees (or even vocational practical qualifications) are going to find themselves offered well-paid jobs in those areas hopefully.

  2. Fantastic guest, and one of the more controversial ones in this series I believe. He challenged some of my thoughts for sure. I think he really hits the nail on the head with regards to the status in Europe, in particular our technological ineptitude (at least in the entrepreneurial sense).

    However I’m curious as to why he thinks UBI is such a bad idea, I wish he explained it in more depth. The ‘we need less people’ seems like an intellectually lazy idea to me, compared to coming up with actually innovative social and financial policies.

    I’m also interested as to why he sees the federalization of the EU as a bad thing. I can see why with the current leadership, but then again we keep comparing ourselves to the US, but we are just not integrated enough to reap the same benefits that they have. Try opening a company branch in 2 countries in EU – you are going to get vastly different experiences in Finland compared to Belgium, not to mention the language barriers.

    Instead of playing games and competing, the countries and people of Europe should act like brothers and sisters and think of themselves as a part of one unit. And than we should demand that our leaders act in that way as well. Otherwise we’ll just end up in a game of who can have the lowest tax breaks for US tech companies and rich Arab sheikhs – not the future I wanna live in.

  3. With robotics becoming more common within the business / industrial world and therefore a reduced need for human employment, isn’t there going to be a significant increase in unemployment? With less people within the workforce, this reduces a countries revenue from taxes paid be workers. With more people on reduced income and (on benefits?) there will not be enough people with money to spend on basic services and needs.
    Jim said we should abolish the concept of “retirement”; but as one who has spent a significant proportion of my life engaged either within the workforce in a quite physically demanding way, or in my spare time being actively engaged in gardening and landscaping, I find that at 69, the body is unable to do the work it once did. I would presume that there is a significant proportion of the population in my boat. So, what do you do with us whose bodies have come to the end of their physical capacity?
    I’m also conscious that their wasn’t any discussion about the looming crisis that climate change and the associated disruptions to life as usual on planet earth. In addition, there will be within the next 50 – 75 years a significant increase in resource depletion on earth.
    As impressive as some of Jim’s insights were, I can’t help but feel that he is one who expects there to be continuous growth within a finite world.
    R K Flint

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