Crony Capitalism – How Bad Has It Gotten In The US?

We all know the problem of the revolving-door in our political leadership and bureaucracy. Folks are in and out of government, keep their contacts and make a fortune from the known reality: it’s not what you know but whom you know. The problem with all this is exactly what Adam Smith warned us about; the incestuous relationship between government and business. Corporations in the US are large and powerful, and have and hire the best talent, retain and control endless resources – these corporations do not NEED government favors, nor does their executive leadership, they are doing fine.

To secure the most optimum efficiency in our economy, we must keep the free-market as free as possible, when we allow a skew due to political favors or inside information, or allow lobbyists to the run the table, often at the expense of the people all we do is prove the cynics correct that; the game is rigged. Perhaps this is why Donald Trump has promised to; Drain the Swamp. And, he’s human too, I have no doubt he will drain the left-side of the swamp first, but it’s still a good start. The trick is to set a new set of rules, lay down the letter of the law, and move forward.

In Harvard Business Review, December 2013 Issue, there was an interesting article titled; “Unwinding Inequality” and in that article was a quote by Angus Denton; “When people use their success to change the rules in their favor, that success is no longer to be celebrated.”

“Yes,” I say, “Indeed.” But let’s take this argument to a higher level shall we. First, I find it rather hypocritical to read of this in the Harvard Business Review, as most there believe in the concepts of Adam Bellow who wrote the book “In Praise of Nepotism” which might explain why all the Supreme Court Justices went to Ivy Leagues, Harvard or Yale, some both. Worse, look at the academic records of the last 5-presidents of the US, and a darn good many senators, and heads of major bureaucracies, corporations and NGOs.

Second, if we dissect that quote, it talks about “success” and the concept of changing the rules once one, a group or corporation gains in the synergy of their own success. Well, isn’t this really the same challenge with guerrillas or terrorists attacking the status quo, authority and government – if they succeed, they are then in control and then they inevitably seem to use the same so-called tyrannical methods of ruling that their predecessors had before they ousted them – thus, the word “revolution” as it just goes round and round as another group comes along to then unseat their new authority.

Now, one can see a similar process in business and industry. For instance, read;

1. “Rule Makers and Rule Breakers,” by David Garnder
2. “First Break All the Rules,” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
3. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business,” by Clayton M. Christensen

Once the company garners market share synergy, and industry status, it moves to change the sector’s associations to lobby to get the rules and regulations changed to its way of doing things blocking future disruptive competitors from coming along to change the industry just as they had to get to where they are today.

The easiest way to do that is through crony-capitalism, campaign contributions, public-private business partnerships, which also leads to selling goods and/or services to the government and secure a free flow of money to further continue their dominance by playing with the political elite – who all went to Ivy League schools. Thus, I find it so fascinating that HBR (Harvard Business Review) had the gall to even publish that article – due to the obvious hypocritical nature of the norm which comes from that elitist institution. Please consider all this and think on it.

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7 Reasons How Goa Will Blow Away Your Winter Blues

According to experts, the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter blues affects millions of people around the globe. People of any age may get effected by it. If you have been suffering from winter blues, you are not alone. It’s said that traveling can help you deal with your SAD, and if you happen to be from India, you may get ready to leave for Goa. Here are 7 reasons how Goa will blow away your winter blues.

Amazing Natural Beauty

Goa has incredible natural beauty with a great deal of green forests and beautiful beaches. Some of the must-visit beaches include Baga beach, Anjuna beach, Calangute beach and Candolim beach, just to name a few.

In the majority of shacks, you can get umbrella and beds for free if you love to eat at beach shacks. Aside from this, most of these places offer different types of Indian, continental and seafood. You may also get to South Goa to take your time at the serene beaches.

Old Goa

Old Goa is a beautiful place to visit the popular places, such as churches of Francis of Assisi, St Augistine and Basilica of Bom Jesus, to name a few. In the evening, you have the option to visit Panjim. Old Goa also has some of the finest Casinos of the country. Just be careful, as you don’t want to spend all your money over there.

Electronic Music

If you love Electronic Music, Candolim and Vagator are your places. During the last 7 days of December, you can attend the popular Sunburn and Supersonic events. Usually, visiting Goa will cost you more money during New Year, but it will be worth the money. The crowd during the New Year makes an incredible atmosphere.

North Goa clubs

If you love to party, you may head to the dance clubs of the North Goa. The majority of the clubs are not that expensive. There you can enjoy music late at night. Clubs that are the most popular include Sinq, LPK, Club Cabana and Curlies.

Food Lovers

If you love to eat seafood, Goa is the best place. Throughout the state, you can find a variety of sea food as well as cheap alcohol. You can also eat alcohol Fenny, which is made from coconuts and Kaju.

Adventures

For adventure lovers, Baga beach, Calangute beach and Sequirem beach are your places. On these beaches, you can play a variety of sports, such as water scooters, Para sailing and scuba diving.

Biking and cycling

Throughout Goa, you can hire bikes or cycles at many of the rent shops. If you want, you can hire cheap Royal enfields and 4 wheelers for a couple of days to have fun. You can cruise along the streets of Goa and drink roadside tea or coconut water.

So, if you are having winter blues and would like to go somewhere for a few days, we suggest that you give a go to Goa. This beautiful state has a lot to offer. Hopefully, you will have a great time over there.

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6 Tips Before You Rent a Boat

Sailing a boat is a great experience, especially when you are sailing with your friends or family. It’s true that not everyone can afford to own a boat to have the sailing experience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. If you want to sail a boat but don’t have the money to buy one, you can use another option and rent one. However, you should know a few things before going this route. This will make sure that you will be on the safe side.

Tip #1 Reserve a Boat Ahead of Time

In summer, the demand for boats is higher than in winter. Therefore, you may find it harder to find a boat that hasn’t been taken. To avoid this situation, we suggest that you make the reservation a few weeks earlier. As soon as you have confirmed your vacation dates, you should have a boat reserved.

Tip #2 Consider Your Needs

As a beginner, renting a fast boat won’t be a good idea for you. But if you have a friend with you who knows how to sail a boat, then you may go ahead and rent a fast one. Another thing to keep in mind is that the selection should be based on what you want to use the boat for. For instance, not all types of vessels would be suitable for fishing. For recommendations, you can get in touch with the boat reservationist.

Tip #3 Rent a Well-maintained Boat

The boat you are going to rent must be in good condition. In other words, make sure the boat doesn’t have any defects. But the question is how can you know if the boat is in good working condition? Well, you should take a look at the rental office or building. If the building is well maintained, the boats will also be in good condition and vice versa. Remember: sailing a damaged or defective boat may put your life at risk. So, you should never compromise on this factor.

Tip #4 Use Charts and Maps

The boat you are going to rent should have the latest charts. They will make it easier for you to know the directions to wherever you want to go. Since waterways change from time to time, having the latest maps is highly recommended.

Tip #5 Safety Is of Paramount Importance

The most important thing in our lives is safety. So, make sure that the boat has all the required safety equipment. Also, the law doesn’t allow you to use a boat if it doesn’t meet any safety requirement.

Tip #6 Communication is Important

The boat you are going to rent must have a working on-board radio. In case something goes wrong during sailing, you can use the onboard radio or your cell phone to call for help. Also, don’t forget to save the important numbers in your phone before you board the boat.

So, these are some boat renting tips that you should note down and take into account before renting a good boat.

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Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Cash is the lifeblood of a business. No business owner wants to see their business struggling because of lack of funds or in debt due to mismanaged finances. What they want to see is a regular flow of profit but this is easier said than done.

With many years of experience as chartered accountants and business experts, we’ve seen many financial mistakes that business owners make. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not having a business plan including clear financial goals

Business planning is very important. If you want to be successful in your business, you need a roadmap. It is also important to set clear goals and targets. In particular, you need to have financial goals that will help you measure how well your business is doing. Furthermore, your financial goal should be clear and realistic. Goals should be phased – weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. You also need to involve your whole organisation in your business strategy. Give your team goals to aim for.

With these plans and goals in place, you will have a clear view of how your business is performing which will eventually help you make important financial and growth-management decisions.

Not keeping proper financial records

This is one of the most common mistakes of business owners and also the most crucial. Most business owners are so busy focusing on managing their business that they neglect the importance of financial record keeping. If you don’t have time to update your financial records, hire an expert to do it for you, such as a Chartered Accountant. They can set you up with proper systems and help process your transactions accurately.

Combining business capital and personal finances

Some business owners, especially those who are struggling with their business capital or finances tend to merge their personal savings with the business. Business owners should avoid doing this, as it will only make it more difficult to track how much money the business is making. Also, it complicates IRD and tax obligations.

Starting too big

Starting a business can be overwhelming. You put everything in that you have before you actually start. You may rent an office or other space and hire employees thinking about the future. You want to start big. But you have to understand that starting big doesn’t necessarily ensure your future success. It may put undue pressure on you and your business. The best thing to do is to start small and once your business becomes financially stable, you may then consider expanding. Make sure that your expansion can be justified by your profits.

Not having an expert to assist you with your finances

Accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance – these are just some of the financial responsibilities that you need to take care of when you start a business. These are critical and timely business processes. But some business owners are so busy managing their business that they often neglect these. You don’t have to stress yourself in thinking and doing everything. You can hire experts to do it for you.

Some business owners are hesitant to hire experts to do these things for them and only realise they need help when it is too late. So hire a trusted Chartered Accountant to help you with your finances so you can focus on your business, as well as having more time to relax.

These are just some of the common financial mistakes that business owners make. Make sure to avoid these financial horrors to ensure the success of your venture.

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How Being Authentic Will Help Your Network Marketing Career

People can see through smoke and mirrors. Maybe it was different in years past but these days people are very smart. In this article, we are going to talk about how being authentic will help your network marketing career.

Let me first let you know that being authentic to me does not mean that you share all of your business with the world. Being authentic means being in line with whatever message it is that you are sharing. If you are talking about financial freedom and you don’t have it, you should be talking about how you are working toward it and what you are learning instead of trying to make people think that you already have it.

One of the things I remind myself and teach to my team is that the truth is good enough. Maybe we are not impressed with the success that we have so far but it could be just what the person we are talking to needs to hear.

When I am talking about success, I don’t even necessarily mean monetary success levels, it can even mean that you’ve enrolled one person or got one customer. Whatever your story is, you have to be good with your story and be authentic. This does not mean that you tell the world all of your problems. People don’t need to hear all of that. You can give your story after you’ve gotten through your challenge. When was the last time people were inspired by a rags to rags story?

When you are talking to people just connect with another human being and be genuine in your writing and any other communications as well. The more that you do this, the more people will know, like and trust you. We all know that these are the people that we love to do business with and that is how your business will be helped by being authentic.

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5 Benefits Of Using Security Tags

If you go to most of big retailers, you will see that they have electronically tagged their expensive goods. It’s possible to tag all the products including beauty products and alcohol. Usually, retail stores use security tags to secure items that are most commonly stolen. As a matter of fact, security tags offer a simple solution for businesses to secure their stock. Read on to know more about it.

How security tags work

In simple words, security tags are designed to send an alert when products at a store are moved through a security barrier. These tags are put on the product packages. When a shoplifter tries to steal the package and passes through the barrier, the tag will turn on the alarm sending an alert to the security.

The staff at the store can detach or deactivate the tags for their customers. So, their genuine customers won’t face any embarrassing situation. The fact of the matter is that these tags prevent shoplifters from lifting stuff from retail stores. As said before, these tags can be used on any product sold at the stores. Given below are 5 major benefits of these tags.

5 Great Benefits of Tags for security

1. Affordable

Since security tags are sold in bulk, you can get discount when buying them. While they may cost you a good amount of money, you will save a great deal of money in the long run. The protection you will get is worth the investment. That’s the reason the product is an effective solution for small as well as large businesses.

2. Ease of use

The great thing about the product is that it is very easy to use. This means that you can use them on a wide range of products. While they are easy to apply, they can’t be removed without a special device called a deactivator. So, the shoplifters won’t be able to remove them.

3. Easy deactivation

With a deactivator, it’s easy to remove the tags in a few seconds. So, your customers don’t need to wait for the tags to be removed before they leave your store. Unlike other gadgets, security tags are not complex items.

4. Peace of mind

With security tags on each product at a store, the staff and customers will have a peace of mind. All the staff at a store will be able to focus on their jobs as they will have peace of mind that any attempt to steal the products will be detected. Moreover, the customers will also be satisfied that they are in a safe store.

5. Reliability

Security tags are very reliable as they can’t be removed without the special device known as the deactivator. Once the deactivator is removed, the tag won’t set the alarm off when the customer will pass it through the security barrier. So, the devices are 100% reliable. There will be no surprises.

So, if you run a store and want to improve the security system at your store, you may want to consider installing tags.

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How to Get Inspired Online When Everybody Is Criticizing You

In a world full bashers and trolls, it’s quite easy to succumb to negativity. The internet is creative for people who seek a thriving environment but it can also be destructive to those who are subjected to public shaming.

Staying positive online can be challenging but here are a few thoughts to inspire you:

Everyone has imperfections.
The term “Facebook envy” is true for the majority who think highly of others because of what they see and read on social media like Facebook. Some individuals belittle themselves because their lives are not as good as what others portray online.

However, according to experts, people tend to always show their best side, so whatever posts or pictures we see is only the nice aspects of their lives. Everybody has deep dark secrets too so when someone criticizes you online, just remember that they also have unpleasant realities.

Most have fake identities.
A lot of those who are online are crass because they can easily hide their identity. They aren’t worried about real-life repercussions so they can be rude to their heart’s content. When someone online confronts you, remember that these are mere virtual components who only muster courage from word war. Maintain your decorum and ignore them.

You are worth the attention.
Negative criticism stems from the personal emotions of the person giving it. Bullies hate being topped by others that’s why they bring people down. When you are criticized, just remember that these people are interested about your life or personality and bullying is a means to get close to you. They won’t waste their time on someone not worth it.

People criticize because they don’t understand.
Closed-minded people cannot accept changes, thus they tend to oppose people who are open to it. When you receive criticism from them, just think that they are only manifesting their fears and it has nothing to do with your actions.

You are better than them.
Most of those who criticize people online are bored individuals with no accomplishments so they get envious of those who are much better than them. Look at the bright side and tell yourself that they hate you because they hate themselves.

Staying Positive

There are simple ways to boost your enthusiasm and optimism despite being surrounded by negative energy so read on.

Do what makes you happy.
Keep doing the things you love and feed your passion. Inspiration comes from personal fulfillment.

Think of inner kindness.
Think that everyone possesses innate kindness. Despite their insensitivity, people are always receptive of goodness.

Be grateful.
Always express your gratitude for the little things. Be thankful for even the bad experiences because these teach you valuable life lessons.

Rewards Yourself.
Give yourself a good massage or buy something you like. An incentive for working hard makes you feel valued.

Spend time outdoors.
The influx of technology declined people’s longing for soulful connection. Break the habit and take a vacation to rest your mind. Go on a short trip to rejuvenate and disconnect from your gadgets. Regular breaks prevent burnouts and improve mental health.

The online world can be cruel and overwhelming at times and it can be hard to manage your emotions if you tend to dwell on them. Success online can be achieved by detaching yourself from feelings and expressing your individuality.

John Richards has many years of experience creating and developing books, eBooks, manuals, and videos, on a variety of subjects, including online wealth, pet care, Internet marketing, direct mail, health and wellness, and CD/DVD distribution service.

John’s website provides ideas and practical advice for people who want to enjoy the rewards of earning an income from home using simple websites.

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How Using Social Media Can Affect Your MLM Business

Almost everyone has some form of social media whether it be for business or fun, people can pretty much find anyone they want to find and check them out. In this article, you are going to learn how using social media can affect your MLM business.

Social media can be a great asset to you and help you attract more team members and customers or social media can make people run from you like you have a disease. Before you post something on social media, just remember that unless you have a certain privacy setting on your content, anyone will be able to see it. The truth is that if you post it on the internet, people that you might not want to see it can probably get to it anyway.

When you are serious about building an MLM business, you have to run a great media company. You need to be able to show people who you are in a good light so they will be proud to work with you. Would you partner in business with someone if you weren’t proud to work with them? Probably not.

Clean It Up

I can’t tell you how many times I go to people’s social page just to find out that I cannot find one picture of them on their timeline. Many times their profile picture is a dog, cat or one of their kids. Since I have no idea who this person is or why they want to be friends, I just ignore the invite.

If you want to have people accept your friend requests or request to be friends with you then you want to have a clean social profile so that people know what who is behind the profile.

Controversy

If you want to build a strong social presence then you don’t want to be arguing with people back and forth over controversial topics. Save that for your close friends because no one wins an internet back and forth.

Now you know how social media can affect your MLM business. I hope you clean it up and are using social media in a way that can help your business and not hurt your business.

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Brainstorming To Start A Small Business – Questions To Answer

Hello readers and potential future entrepreneurs. I understand the feeling; desire to create, operate, and succeed. Throughout my professional career, I have learned that there are numerous steps that must be taken in order to organize opening and operating a small business. I have put together a few questions which aspiring entrepreneurs should, at the very least, consider reading over. There are many questions that may arise with opening a small business, and I will address a few of those questions briefly in the following list of questions one may ask while brainstorming.

What type of business do you want to open? There are various business endeavors an entrepreneur could involve themselves in. It all comes down to what knowledge one has, or is willing to obtain. Are you a restaurateur? Repairman? Plumber? Home health / assistance? Do you have experience managing or working at such establishments? Do you need formal education from an institution? Will you work as a sole proprietor, or a partner / member? Research limited liability corporations (LLCs) in addition to sole proprietorships and partnerships. S corporations are another option, but they are for business with stockholders, and may not be right for your particular business application.

What kinds of licensing and/or permits are required? Each business will have different licensing requirements; it all comes down to what the entrepreneur ultimately chooses to do. A restaurant would need food safety licensing in addition to basic business licensing, and if alcohol is on the menu – there is another permit the entrepreneur would need to legally sell alcohol on the premises. Repair oriented businesses would need at least the business license to repair, but if they sell parts as well, they would need to have “retail” listed on their business license in addition to “repair”. Health care services require at least formal education and licensing as an LPN, RN, or one of several other health care related licenses. Be sure to check your state’s laws to ensure what is necessary to operate your type of business.

What training / education / certifications are required to legally run this business? We touched upon this in licensing / permits, however there is much more involved than the required licensing. For example, one cannot operate a vehicle collision repair business without the knowledge of performing those types of repairs. There are schools that can be attended to learn what must be learned to effectively operate nearly any kind of business. However, there are also businesses where experience is enough to operate effectively without needing any formal education (lawn care, house cleaning just to name a couple). Also, there are certifications for training in nearly, if not all, care industries.

Does this business require a storefront? Retail establishments will undoubtedly need a storefront. Bear in mind, retail business will have a much larger initial investment than a service based operation. That initial investment is inventory. Some service businesses may not need a storefront to operate, as much of the service performed could very well be on-site. If a storefront is necessary, be sure to consider delivery or on-site service if it is feasible for your operation.

How much will it cost? This number will vary wildly based on the type and size of business you are planning. For smaller businesses, this number could be as low as $200 for a license and/or permit, or as high as a million dollars or more. Obviously, inventory is very expensive, and so are specialized tools for performing extremely precise work. Calculate the expected opening and operating expenses. Determine what size storefront is needed (if applicable), and research local commercial realty properties, locations, and prices. It is absolutely cheaper to rent in the short-term, although the thought of owning property that is paid off is very tempting. Prices on most things will vary based on your location. Employees are another cost, if your business warrants employees. When employees come into the equation as opposed to sole proprietors or partnerships, one must add extra insurance for the business (unemployment insurance comes to mind). Check with your selected insurance company for which types of additional coverage are required, and if offering health insurance can be done reasonably. Those employees will also need to have taxes paid on their wages – part from the employee’s paycheck and part from the company. Another potential cost is repayment of loans, if you don’t already have the capital needed to open your business. Basic operating expenses are not to be forgotten, as heating/cooling, Internet connectivity, and utilities will be regular expenditures for any storefront. On-site service operations cost very little when compared to a physical storefront.

How can an individual pay for this? If you do not have the funds available, which is very common, applying for loans is a way to attain funding. Be sure to have a business plan with projected expenses and revenues. There are other ways to gain funds for a business. Look into grants. While they are not very common, they are a potential source for assistance nonetheless. If many people believe in your dream, one could possibly acquire donations from those individuals.

What about accounting? Bookkeeping is a necessity – research which accounting/bookkeeping software would work best for the type of business you are planning. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are needed for “ringing up” and selling inventory or goods to the customer. POS systems keep track of sales, sales taxes, employee labor dollars spent, and many other items. If you are apt at creating spreadsheets, you may be able to keep track of your own inventory depending on your particular business model.

I hope this brief listing of questions and potential answers has been of assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Although there are countless successful entrepreneurs who have little or no formal education in business, it is never a bad idea to research courses regarding administration and management. Be sure to take a look at the Small Business Administration’s website at http://www.SBA.gov for more helpful information.

The author, Johnathan Baker, is an educated entrepreneur, with over ten years of experience in small business administration and management. Opening any type of business is no simple task, as many things must be considered. With experience opening, operating, and managing small businesses, the author aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams. While the questions are not all inclusive, they are, at the very least, a good bit of information to consider throughout the beginning processes of opening a small business. Take the information provided and begin or continue working on your business plan on the road to entrepreneurship.

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Stability, Predictability, Consistency, and Standardization in the Flow of Commerce

The best of all possible worlds is for the government to stay out-of-the-way of commerce, industry and business, and very rarely institute regulations. There are some times when government and businesses, industry associations should collaborate for the sake of standardization, but again, very rarely. The tendency to allow industry collusion, create monopolies, duopolies or quasi-cartels is just too easy. Further, once you create one regulation it’s hard to prevent the add-on affect, the temptation is just too great to add exceptions, additions, clarifications as lawyers, unions, and consumer groups work to lobby legislators to intervene with the regulatory apparatus.

A few years back this was a big conversation at our Think Tank, and one think tanker Andrew stated: “I would have to agree that businesses do need some form of standardization, but we must also understand several concepts! A business must have the capability to micromanage for maximum efficiency. I believe states should be granted the power to standardize businesses, not the federal government.”

Okay but, where I see the definite need for standardization are with things like Internet Protocols, railway track width, freeways for intrastate travel, airport runway markings, frequencies used in communication, food safety, etc. In a big state like TX you could get away with doing almost everything counter to the overall prevailing way of doing things, it’s practically large enough to be its own country, and some Texans would prefer it to be still. Pretty independent minded, even with the population’s mindset of succession from the union. It even has its own electrical grid.

Still, with regards to the flow of energy, transportation, distribution, communication, currency, etc. we need standardization. And to the point of having each state decide, what about every county, every city, or every HOA, down to every person, where do you stop the breakdown of centralized standardization.

The argument for state level standardization could be argued against by someone who is a County Supervisor telling the State to go to hell, we want to do it our way, especially a county like the County of Los Angeles, with 16 million people in it, also larger than most countries. How about a city telling the county where to go, again as an example, let’s take the City of Los Angeles VS County of Los Angeles, see the point.

And realize I am not making an argument for a global government here, but we also need some standardization there too, for aviation, which we do have, maritime, trade rules, and having the Central Banks work together so no one Central Bank doesn’t destroy the entire global economy. See that point. We need SOME standardization, but we MUST retain regional variation. We do this at the Global Level, but we don’t do it enough at our Federal Level with regards to the states in the US and that’s why we have issues now. Think on this.

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