Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
YOU may have noticed that one company claims to have found large amounts of shale gas underneath Blackpool. Cuadrilla Resources says that there’s untold trillions of cubic feet of gas down there. Enough to keep us all warm and toasty and lit for decades at the top end of their estimations.
You might also have noticed the screaming hordes of hippies demanding that such must be left in the ground. Which is odd really:
“Natural-gas generation is becoming the preferred generation of choice since it’s cheaper and more efficient, more flexible and environmentally cleaner than coal,” Jack Fusco, chief executive officer of Houston-based Calpine, said during a July 27 conference call with analysts. “Coal-fired generation is in a secular decline, facing pressure from both environmental regulations and lower natural-gas prices.”
However, the getting from here to there is the difficult part. And as an example of quite how difficult it would be, here’s what Shell is doing right now:
Mr Henry is cited as saying that the Anglo-Dutch oil major would rather deposit $15bn of cash in non-European assets, such as US Treasuries and US bank accounts.
The firm is forced to keep some money in Europe to fund its operations, but is keeping the bulk of its reserve liquidity out of the eurozone to avoid growing macroeconomic risk, the report said.
SO. What do we think is the best system then? Taking all the people to dim to go into banking, sticking them in the Department of Health and giving them 10% of GDP, one tenth of all the gelt that the nation produces each year, to buy our health care for us?
Or perhas a slightly more decentalised system in which the tax money is still spent on scraping us up off the roads after an accident but we don’t rely on all those really celver people or the way that it’s spent? You know, perhas we allow people who actually know what they’re doing to spend it instead?
DAI Teatime has an email scam. In the missive Your Life is in Danger, Dai writes:
“As I sit here sipping a martini it is my regretful duty to inform you that you have been selected for assassination.”
“SMERSH have contacted me to assassinate you and have specifically paid extra for a particularly nasty death which makes it look like you died in a particularly bizarre sex game gone wrong….Get back to me if you value your life with all due speed or else I regret I will have to carry out my original contract to assassinate you and, although he is quite charming for a horse, I don’t think Henry is the most sensitive of lovers.”
APPLE does not do it for the money. This is a nice claim but I wouldn’t want to run too far with it.
Sir Jonathan Ive, the man credited with shaping the iPad and iPhone and whose personal fortune is estimated at $130m, said today that Apple’s guiding principal was nothing to do with its balance sheet, instead it simply wanted to make “great products”.
“Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money. This may sound a little flippant, but it’s the truth,” said the British designer. “Our goal and what gets us excited is to try to make great products. We trust that if we are successful people will like them, and if we are operationally competent we will make revenue, but we are very clear about our goal.”
FROM the annals of really pig ignorant stupid environmentalism, we bring you a Greenpeace expert:
Jon Burgwald, an Arctic expert at Greenpeace, said that mining operations can bring pollution and destruction: “There could be some very harsh environmental consequences.”
THE Big Four accountancy firms are locked in battle for popper supremacy.
KPMG Theme Song – Global Strategy or Power and Energy
YET another of these bloody attempts to define what is wrong with British manufacturing industry. As ever, calling for the picking of winners and government support for them. Bloody stupid, as ever:
“At Airbus we have a shortage, in just one company, of 2,500 professional engineers across Europe and in the UK. There is tremendous demand for quality professional engineers and technicians,” he says.
To combat this shortage and to grow British engineering, Sir John believes the UK needs a fully-fledged industrial blueprint.
“I have travelled around with business and seen how other nations organise themselves and tilt policy in favour of their industrial base. At the highest level, an industrial strategy, in my view, is about giving the right signals to society that industrial activity is very important.”
According to Sir John, this strategy does not even have to be complex. Indeed, it should be confined to a single piece of paper.
“You should keep it as simple as you can,” he states. “I have always been brought up to believe that the clear industrial strategies within a company like Anglo American can be put on a single piece of paper, because it is about the big issues.
Well, here’s the solution and it’s a lot shorter than a single page.
TUMBLR of the day – Rich Kids Of Instagram. “They have more money than you and this is what they do”….
Apple may be waiting some time yet before it gets the rights to use the IPAD name in China after reports from the region suggested that lawyers of its court room opponent Proview are requesting temporary seizure of the trademark until they are paid.
A report on technology news portal Sina Tech (via Marbridge Daily) claimed that Grandall Law Firm has submitted an “asset protection application” to Shenzhen’s Yantian District People’s court.
With lyrics by Ronnie Bond and Salman Rushdie, and vocals from George Chandler, the dancing only ended in 1984, when Burnley BS and Provincial Building Society merged to become National & Provincial Building Society.
I’M always a little surprised by the people who shout that we’ve got to spend much more on rail. On trams. On properly integrated public transport systems. For they ever so rarely bother to look at the actual numbers.
This has been tried before, of course, most notably in Portland. How well did it work there? In 1980, under the old bus-transit model, transit carried 9.8 percent of Portland-area commuters to work. By 2010, with seven different rail lines and scores of transit-oriented developments, transit carried just 7.1 percent of the region’s commuters to work.
OK, sure, that’s an American city. But who thinks that Edinburgh’s tram system is going to do any better?
THERE’S one place in the world that has had a proper experiment with voluntary egalitarian socialism. That is, it really has been tried without anyone being whipped in to it by Stalin, Pol Pot or some other bloodthirsty monster. And the thing is, even among said volunteers, it doesn’t actually work very well:
After decades of declining numbers, bankruptcies and privatisation, Israel’s kibbutz movement is undergoing a remarkable revival, with rising numbers wanting to join the unique form of collective living.
The population of about 143,000 is the highest in its 102-year history, after growth of 20% between 2005 and 2010, according to the official Kibbutz Movement. More people are now joining kibbutzim than leaving – a reversal of the crisis years – and the influx of working-age adults and young children is helping to redress the balance of an ageing population.
YES, yes, any number of mouthbreathing lefties insist that the UK is “too reliant” upon finance. That we’ve got to cut the banksters down to size. That we should concentrate more on the production of real things.
The sad thing is, given how rarely said mouthbreathers are actually right about anything, they do have a point. It is actually possible for the financial sector to grow too large. There’s a lot of very good (ie, not lefty) research showing this. Try here if you’re into the geeky side of economics.
AN interesting and long piece in The Guardian about the rise of charity food banks in the UK. And here’s the bit that truly pisses me off:
Stephen Timms, shadow work and pensions secretary, says it is a “pretty worrying reflection of what’s going on in the country, when people are dependent on these charitable handouts. My worry is that we are really just at the start of cutting back the benefits system and already a large number of people are not able to buy food for their families. This shouldn’t be happening on the scale that it is now happening.”
Manchester Labour MP, and former head of the Child Poverty Action Group, Kate Green describes the growth of food banks as a disgrace. “I feel a real burning anger about them,” she says. “People are very distressed at having to ask for food; it’s humiliating and distressing.”
Mary Creagh, shadow environment minister, who has responsibility for food and was brought up in Coventry, is ambivalent about the rise in food banks. “There’s something about feeling that you are asking for charity rather than getting something from the state … it’s humiliating; it involves swallowing your dignity, travelling distances to the centres and walking home with plastic bags,” she says.
The pissing off comes from the howlingly sad insistence that if something needs doing then it has to be the State doing it.
YOU women cannot have it all. Marissa Mayer cannot have it all. Nor can men, of course, but today’s example of the harsh realities of life comes from Marissa Mayer. Now we might think that she’s the perfect poster child for a woman who can hand indeed does have it all. One of the early Google engineers, thus worth squillions from stock options. Just appointed CEO of Yahoo, thus with the opportunity to make more squillions.
Most certainly a looker (let’s face it, she was most unlikely to have ever been short of a date now, was she?) and, get this, she gets chosen as that CEO while 6 months pregnant!
THE Guardian newspaper has not a clue when it comes to economics. They claim the following:
How much is a fair price for a pint of milk? The answer is: whatever price allows everyone in the supply chain – farmer, dairy, supermarket – to turn an honest profit.
Dear God, that’s just insane.
IN Australia, taxpayers pay for producing carbon. In the UK, plans are afoot for a unilateral carbon tax. Only, plants love the stuff. In fact, plants are lapping it up, reversing any effect of global warming:
The earth would have warmed faster in the last two decades had there not been an unexplained rise in the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed on land, scientists believe.
Scientists have discovered an “abrupt increase’’ since 1988 in the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the land biosphere, which comprises all of the planet’s plant and animal ecosystems.
Wellington-based scientist Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher, from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, was part of the global research team investigating the distribution of CO2 emissions.
Ms Mikaloff-Fletcher said … “We were completely taken by surprise (by the findings). It’s opened up a whole new series of questions.’’
WELL, according to the Icelandic courts we can all donate to Wikileaks again. For they’ve insisted that Visa Iceland must process the payments:
WikiLeaks could be seeing an influx of funds after an Icelandic court ruled that Valitor, the local agent for Visa, broke the law when it stopped taking donations for the website.
The court found that Valitor had broken contract laws when it stopped accepting payments sent to WikiLeaks by Visa customers in July 2011. WikiLeaks estimates that move cut its funding by 95 per cent and cost it around $20m in lost donations, leaving it chronically short of cash.
YOU’LL have heard of this no chips but McDonald’s chips at the Olympic sites, yes? Because Mickey D’s is the official fast food sponsor of the Games. If people are going to be fed chip butties then they’re going to be from Mickey D’s.
One particular site is complaining in a slightly more sophisticated manner:
Companies like McDonald’s do sponsorship deals all the time. They’re very good at negotiating them. But this isn’t just any old sponsorship deal. It’s a massively important public event, in which it’s a privilege – for spectators, athletes and sponsors – to participate. Every potential sponsor should have been made very strongly aware of that from the outset.
In other words, if LOCOG had been stronger negotiators – if they had been more confident in what they had to offer to sponsors – the Olympics, for God’s sake – then the balance of power would be more even and we would be reading fewer of these depressing stories.
ONE could take this as a storm in a teacup or one could take it as the destruction of a great iconic brand. But Apple’s computer kit is now officially not green. In fact it’s now so not green that it’s probably illegal for any part of the UK government to buy it:
The city authorities of San Francisco have banned departmental purchases of Apple hardware after Cupertino dropped out of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) green-standards scheme.
“We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT,” Melanie Nutter, director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment, told The Wall Street Journal, “and we hope that the city saying it will not buy Apple products will make Apple reconsider its participation.”
I’LL admit to being a little confused about this campaign:
Angry bank customers have been voting with their wallets and bombarding co-ops, building societies and credit unions with applications for current accounts over the past week, after the NatWest computer meltdown and the Barclays rate-rigging scandal.
Data compiled by the campaign group Move Your Money UK shows an explosion in requests to switch from large high street banks to smaller alternatives that consumers hope will take a more ethical approach. Charity Bank, which lends its savers’ money to charities, has seen a 200% increase in depositors; the Ecology Bank has had a 266% jump in applications; and Triodos, a Bristol-based “sustainable bank”, a 51% increase.
ECONOMICS is packed full of myths: not the subject itself, but what people think they understand about it. The Economist has a look at a couple:
A LETTER-WRITER and a commenter have kindly pointed out that vibrant markets exist for the pollination services of bees. This is contrary to the claim in last week’s Free Exchange column on inclusive wealth. It also spoils a nice allegory used by Sir James Meade in 1952 to illustrate external economies.
I feel suitably disabused. Next you’ll be telling me that private enterprise can provide profitable lighthouses, that used-car buyers often know as much as sellers, that the Dvorak keyboard is no faster than QWERTY and that Betamax was no better than VHS. Oh.
SO. We had Ireland go bust when they made the single most stupid decision of the last decade: to guarantee all the debts of all of their banks. Those debts having been caused by too low an interest rate for the economy, that single interest rate that a single currency necessarily causes, as a result of being in the euro.
Portugal went bust and needed a bailout simply because the single interest rate made it too easy for the government to borrow oodles of cash to blow.
It’s no mystery why Europe is short of work. Save on its northern rim, Europe 30 years ago began exporting manufacturing jobs to other parts of the world
I do worry about the old Alma Mater at times you know. This is one of the senior professors at the place I did my economics degree. And it is difficult to be more wrong than this and still have the intellect to walk and fart at the same time.