Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
THIS might not be good news for people who (follishly) invested in Facebook stock at the IPO. There’s a distinct possibility that we’ve already reached peak Facebook and that it’s just not going to get any better from here.
There’s four things that determine how much money Facebook can make. How many users it has, how much time they spend using it, how many ads Facebook can show them in that time and the price FB can charge for those ads. To boost profits Facebook would rather like all four to be rising. However, in the mature territories, that’s not what seems to be happening.
EEK! We’ve reached peak farmland: we’ll not expand the fields ever again. That, of course, spells doom for all of us human beans, as there will be ever less food for ever more people. Woe is us.
Except that’s not actually what is being predicted. Rather, that because we’re using farmland ever more efficiently we’ll never need to plough up more forest to make fields:
American corn farmers currently average about 180 bushels per acre, and the world average is around 82. Ausubel and his colleagues assume a modest 1.7 percent annual increase in corn yields between 2010 and 2060, which implies that “the average global yield in 2060 would resemble the average U.S. yield in 2010.”
One concern is that farmers may be approaching the biological limits of photosynthesis, which would constrain crop yields. But the authors note that the winners of the annual National Corn Yield Contest currently produce nonirrigated yields of around 300 bushels per acre, nearly double average U.S. yields. Ausubel suggests that the difference between the global average of 82 bushels and contest-winning 300 bushels per acre yields means that “much headroom remains.”
All that’s necessary is to get global average crop yields up to current US average crop yields and we’ll be fine. And the good thing about that is that we know how to get crop yileds up. For we do it today, so we must know how to do it.
BITCOIN’S this shiny new form of money that has hal the geeks and the libertarians shouting for joy. There’s no government involvement, it’s all entirely produced by code, there’s no nation attached to it and most importantly, there’s no name attached to an account. This makes it superb for anonymous shuffling of money around. And that, of course, is why it’s going to get killed by the bureaucracy:
With mounting pressure on online money exchanges from US regulators, payments processor OKPay has announced that it is suspending processing for all Bitcoin exchanges, including industry leader Mt. Gox.
ARE comics making more cash than footballers? Yes. So we’re told:
Laughing all the way to the bank: The comics who are earning a fortune and even overtaking Premier League footballers.
Peter Kay tops the list, pocketing £32.8million in the past two years.
Michael McIntyre next highest earner on the list with earnings topping £21m.
Third is John Bishop reporting profits of £6.3m in two years.
SO. You want to work on the Wimbledon Guardian?
Spotter: Omar Oakes
THIS is an interesting little piece of news from Marks and Spencer:
Marks & Spencer is to stop opening new general stores in the UK amid a shift to internet shopping.
The company will build four new large outlets over the next three years, but then call a halt to 129 years of bricks and mortar expansion.
Bosses believe that the popularity of ‘click and collect’ means people will be buying more online and either collecting from its existing stores or getting home deliveries.
THE Mail’s got itself all in a tither about a find of African money off the coast of Australia. Apparently this means that the entire history of the place has to be rewritten. Err, no, it doesn’t: it’s an interesting little find, to be sure, but it doesn’t change the history of Oz in any appreciable manner at all.
Five copper coins found in northern Australia could rewrite the country’s history.
The coins are thought to date back as early as the 900s and are believed to have originated in Africa.
Written history of Australia only dates back to 1606, when Dutch explorers landed in the region, and researchers from Indiana University want to find out how the thousand-year-old copper coins ended up on the other side of the Indian Ocean six centuries earlier.
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THIS is a fascinating little example of how the debate of climate change gets very skewed. In fact, the report is more interesting for what it says about that than it is in its intended actual result.
The number of people dying from unbearable heat in big cities could almost double because of climate change, according to new research.
A study in Manhattan found the number of fatalities caused by global warming will far outstrip the reductions in those perishing from the cold.
It follows a report last year by the Health Protection Agency that warned heat related deaths in the UK will increase by more than 10,000 annually – a fivefold rise.
It’s undoubtedly true that if and when global warming happens then more people will die of the heat than happens now. So the finding isn’t all that odd.
AFTER the inquiry into the crud oil prices is announced we’ve got the AA leaping in and insisting that there’s another group conspiring and manipulating to make the petrol made from crude more expensive.
Few of the traders’ names – including Glencore, Cargill, Gunvor and Trafigura – are known to consumers outside the oil industry, but their effect on Britain’s 33million motorists and the wider economy is profound.
They buy huge quantities of petroleum on the open market and store it until the price goes high enough to make them a handsome profit, at which point they sell.
RELIGIONS are often the first to point out how good charity is and that we should always reach out to those in need. However, one homeless chap has conducted an experiment which shows religious people aren’t taking their own advice.
The homeless man, as seen in a Reddit thread, bears a sign that says: “Which religion cares the most about the homeless?” There are nine begging bowls in front of him, each with money in them.
RYAN Lee Chiropractic Center is open for business. It might be an idea when advertising health remedies that not everyone agrees with to shy away from a “not-so-serious” commercial that features the chiropractor stood behind and on top of young, photogenic women:
HS2 is, as you know, this idea that we should build a great big train set to go through the middle of England. Politicians love train sets so all the politicians are in favour of it.
Unfortunately they’ve been lying about the numbers. Yes, lying is the correct word here. The problem is that they’ve been using 1960s figures not 00’s figures to justify it. And many people have told them that what they’re doing is wrong, misleading, lying. But they’ve carried on regardless:
The Labour MP added that transport bosses had ‘belatedly identified errors in their calculations that have wiped £12billion off the expected benefits’ and left themselves ‘no room for mistakes’.
DO you recall a year or so back when we were all having a lovely time shouting at the BBC stars who were all avoiding tax by being paid into companies? And the BBC promised to do something about it?
It’s a year later and not a lot has been done. For the terribly difficult question is, well, what should be done?
BBC plans to force freelance presenters back on to the employment books to end suspicions of tax avoidance have descended into chaos, it emerged last night,
Stars are being made to sign short-term contracts because the BBC has been unable to thrash out an acceptable way of paying them on a full time basis.
The corporation decided to act following concerns from MPs about the corporation’s use of so-called personal service companies as a way of channelling stars’ earnings.
THE French have decided it would be a good idea to tax all the smartphones, TVs, tablets and the rest in order to subsidise the creation of French movies n’ stuff that people can watch on their smartphones, tablets and TVs. This is truly insane:
The French government is considering creating a new tax on smartphones and tablets in a bid to raise millions to support the creation of digital cultural content inside France.
The proposal, handed to President Francois Hollande today, outlines a one per cent tax on the sale of Internet-compatible devices, targeting companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon.
The tax would yield about 86 million euros per year. The revenue would help cultural industries create French content such as music, images and videos.
ISNT this just wonderful?
Britain is the world’s leading exporter of power generators, as they are seen as manufacturers of the “best quality and are the most reliable”, according to latest research.
THE skill with which the EU has been managing the wider economy is shown delightfully in these new figures from Greece:
Overall unemployment has risen to an all-time high of 27 per cent, data showed on Thursday, while joblessness in the 15-to-24 age group jumped to 64.2 per cent in February from 59.3 per cent in January.
A 27% unemployment rate is higher than the United States had at the worst level of the Great Depression. And a 64% youth unemployment rate: that’s more like some godawful shanty town in the wilds of sub-Saharan Africa than anything else.
MUHAMMAD Yunus has done some pretty good things in his life: the founding of the Grameen Bank led to a Nobel Prize for example. Yet this really does have to be a silly idea: the idea of having an international minimum wage:
I propose that foreign buyers jointly fix a minimum international wage for the industry. This might be about 50 cents an hour, twice the level typically found in Bangladesh.
THOSE Big Bad Bankies, screwed up the entire world economic system and impoverished us all. Of course, what should happen is much greater regulation of what the banksters are doing with or money.
Which might even be true in fact. However, the problem is that you can’t actually regulate the banking system just by regulating the bankers. Because there are all sorts of companies out there that have money and which can and will step in to do business when we prevent banks from doing it.
Hedge funds using debt-trading strategies honed on Wall Street are expanding at a record pace as they profit from risks big banks are no longer taking.
MONACO is, like Dubai, a country suffering from small-man syndrome. It wants to be bigger. It’s wearing the flashy gold watch, driving a sports car and attracting celebrity friends but it remains small. Monaco is further damaged by being a very small version of France, that venue for scholastic exchanges, romance, booze cruises, burning sheep and car-b-cues. Monaco’s a foreigner’s view of an al fresco French drawing room, a gilded, gaudy, snooty, ultra-conservative bastion of monied minds, opulence, esoteric watch brands and tackiness.
Maybe it can improve if it can grow? The country is taking bids for a six-hectare (14-acre) development project of land drained of the sea. You have until 23 July to design a new district for Monaco’s new district by 2024.
New Monaco will be environmentally friendly and favour pedestrians and cyclists. Residences will be blocks of flats. Can it be that New Monaco will look like an old Russian slum, the locals all emigres recapturing the mood of Stalin’s Steppes, their heads swaddled in Dr Nip ‘n’ Tuck’s scarves as they affect a look of a housewife taking a Siberian winter full in the face – at least until the stitches mend?
Monaco is seeping into the Med like a sewage outlet of greed. It’s good for the little men, of course.
Come on in, the water’s shallow…
WE all know, or at least we should all know, that the browsing and sluicing of MPs is subsidised by the rest of us. Costs us about £5 million a year to provide cheap food and booze for them in Westminster.
However, that’s just the headline number of what we actually spend. There’s also a concept (very important in economics) called opportunity cost. This is the amount that we would have if we put whatever it is to a different use rather than doing whatever it is with it right now.
I AGREE that global warming is a real problem, that it’s one we might want to do something about as well. But that doesn’t stop people from taking the arguments in favour of doing something a little too far. Like this recent bill introduced into the US Congress. Apparently we should fight global warming because more women will become prostitutes:
A group of American politicians has introduced a resolution into Congress saying that climate change (among many other bad things it does) forces women into prostitution, and that as a result the USA should use “gender sensitive frameworks” in battling the scourge of global warming.
Whereas women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change …
… insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health …
SOME people are thundering bozos and will do anything to get noticed. Take for example, the gasping simpleton that works for a New York real estate agency called Rapid Realty. RR are offering their staff a pay rise if they get a tattoo of the company logo. (On your arse? – ed)
In exchange for carrying a logo of a corporation, you get a 15% wage increase. Astonishingly, 40 members of staff have already taken up the offer.
One member of staff says it isn’t about the money. Robert Trezza says:
“I think it’s a good opportunity to show commitment to a company that makes going to work fun every day.”
CERTAIN people are getting rather angry about yesterday’s bond deal by Apple:
As is par for the course, the financial media is telling a story about a major US company from the perspective of the investing classes, rather than the broader public.
The poster child is the New York Times’ Dealbook, in a story titled “To Satisfy Its Investors, Cash-Rich Apple Borrows Money.” It third paragraph reads:
Apple’s return to the debt markets raises a riddle: Why would a company with so much cash even bother to issue debt?
A full seven paragraphs later, the article gets around to the last, and arguably the most important reason:
By raising cheap debt for the shareholder payout, Apple also avoids a potentially big tax hit. About two-thirds of Apple’s cash — about $102 billion — sits overseas in lower-tax jurisdictions. If it returned some of that cash to the United States to reward its investors, it could have significant tax consequences for the company. In some ways, the bond issue is a response to that tax situation.