Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
NOT that many of us know what a quantum computer is of course but if the Americans spies are trying to make one it must be evil, right? And yes, this is the latest revelation from the Edward Snowden papers about what complete, total and utter bastards the NSA is.
In room-size metal boxes secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.
According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.
HE’S written a new book he has, Jonathan Porritt, that leading environmental thinker of our age. And in it he’s described how we’re all going to get poorer. But the really crazy thing is that he’s just too dman stupid to understand why his suggestion makes us poorer.
Here’s the Mail giving an outline of it all:
In the vision of the UK in 2050 humans are doing less work – and not just because of robots.
In the fictional future, the EU’s ‘Maximum Working Time Directive’ is introduced and in 2045 people work for just under 25 hours a week in their regular job, compared to an average of 36.4 hours in 2010.
Alex writes that the change came about as unemployment continued to rise in the 1920s and there were protests to distribute jobs more fairly, resulting in GDP being scrapped in 2029 as a way of measuring a country’s wealth.
The ‘index of sustainable economic well being’ and a new model of working came in, which saw people swap labour for services via a local ‘time bank’ and earn extras outside their regular work.
AT the Royal Mint in Pontyclun, Wales, new coins have been minted. Five new coin designs will enter circulation in 2014 to commemorate historic events including the First World War and the Commonwealth Games.
ONE of the claims that was made over the break was that the NSA, the US crypto spies, could hack into anyone’s iPhone any time. This was all as a result of the Edward Snowden documents of course. The sad thing about this is that it was rather blown up out of proportion by one Jacob Appelbaum, one of the hangers on along with Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras, around those Snowden documents.
Appelbaum went on to demand that Apple reveal which of the two dastardly things it had been doing: had it been cooperating with the NSA? Or had it just left the most appalling security breach open just for the hell of it?
THEY’RE whining about how train fares are going up again: and as usual, they’re managing to get entirely the wrong end of the stick. Here’s their complaint about fares:
Rail fares are rising so quickly that the government will soon be making a profit from the commuting public, campaigners claimed as the new year ushered in higher annual season ticket prices.
According to a report from the consultants Credo, for the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), by 2018 the fares collected from passengers will cover 103% of railways’ operating costs, compared with 80% in 2009.
There is a very slight problem with this analysis: operating profits are not profits. Operating profits are the costs of goods sold minus the costs of goods purchased. If you thought about Sainsbury’s for example, then it would be the cost of everything they sell minus the costs of buying the things that they sell. And the perceptive will note that those aren’t all the costs of running a supermarket. It’s necessary, for example, to have buildings in which to operate the supermarkets. Vans and trucks to move the stuff around. To pay for advertising to get people to come in and buy the stuff.
PORTUGAL’s Bin Men are rebelling against plans to privatise rubbish collections. They’ve gone on strike. So. People have reacted in a way we can only applaud: they’ve taken to delivering their rubbish to the banks.
WHO has the money in the USA?
Part of the reason Americans don’t understand class might be because true inequity is so excessive that we might well characterize it as unfathomable. That’s because one cannot show in any reasonable format, whether in print or on the web, both the wide distribution of people who have virtually no money, and the amount of money possessed by a very, very small portion of rich people.
If the 2.2 million+ viewers of the video were to expand, Gangnam style, to all 311 million Americans and everyone finally saw with clear eyes just how vast wealth inequality truly is in their country, things would change, right? Maybe, but I seriously doubt it. Even leaving aside Republican resistance to measures that could dent the wealth gap, many Americans would likely remain opposed to measures that would be necessary to seriously address the problem.
Who has the power?
MANUFACTURING is coming back to the UK. That’s what Vince Cable claims at least, that there’s more manufacturing coming into the UK than there is leaving for places with cheaper labour:
Vince Cable has heralded the prospect of British manufacturing “becoming great again” as he revealed that twice as many small and medium sized manufacturers are bringing production back to the UK as are sending work overseas.
In what will be viewed as a boost for the British economy, Mr Cable, the Business Secretary, disclosed details of a new Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS) survey which shows that 11pc of respondent’s reshored production to the UK in the past 12 months, against 5pc who had sent production overseas.
THE Italians have got themselves all het up over the fact that Google doesn’t pay any tax in that country. Or at least one or two politicians have got het up about it. You know, Google sits in Ireland, selling all that advertising into Italy and the poor Italian politicians don’t get to confiscate one red euro of that river of cash. Boo hoo, eh?
In order to try and get a bit of that cash they’ve decided to pass a new law. And one incredible little piece of it is as follows:
The advertising spaces online and sponsored links that appear in the results pages of search engines ( search advertising services ) , viewable on the Italian territory during the visit of a website or the use of an online service through landline or network and mobile devices, must be purchased exclusively through entities , such as publishers, advertising agencies , search engines or other advertiser , registered for VAT issued by the Italian tax . This provision shall also apply in cases where the sales transaction has been carried out through media centers , operators and third parties advertisers.
VODAFONE has just released the numbers for how much corporation tax it paid in the UK last year. Nowt.
Yup, they made a profit of £294 million in the UK and paid absolutely nothing in corporation tax on that number. We’ll no doubt see the kids from UKUncut having a demo outside one or two of the stores today.
Vodafone has issued a new defence of its tax affairs as revealed it again paid no corporation tax in the UK last year, the third year in a row.
The mobile giant paid £275m in direct UK taxes, down from £338m the previous year. Corporation tax accounted for almost none of the bill, which was made up of other forms of taxation such as business rates on Vodafone premises and VAT.
The company, which published the figures for the second time as part of a new transparency effort, accused critics of failing to understand that corporation tax is due on profits rather than revenues. It said Britain was “one of the least-profitable mobile markets anywhere in the world”.
Vodafone reported UK profits of £294m on a turnover of £5.2bn last year
NOW this is excellent news, the entire point of our having student loans to pay fees, rather than grants or the government paying, seems to have sunk through into the head of at least one student. The point is, of course, to get people concentrating on what the buggery they are doing at university:
My degree has been vital to my job, but it saddens me to say that, were I 18 again, I wouldn’t choose the subject about which I felt passionate – I’d make my choice based on job opportunities and pay.
THIS is a fairly strong prediction: that Facebook is actually dead and buried. At the same time as it manages to increase the number of users, increase the amount of time they spend on the site and also charge more money for each of the more ads they see. Sounds difficult that it could be dead as a result of all of that.
But the argument is actually a little different:
What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request. You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion. The desire for the new, also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in social media. It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.
THE financial markets have been waiting for this for some years: for Apple to sign up with China Mobile to take the iPhone. The importance of it is that China Mobile is the last major airtime provider around the world that doesn’t currently carry Apple’s products. And with 760 million subscribers that’s a hell of a market that Apple is missing out on. The deal has finally happened:
SOMEONE at Anorak Towers once scored a job on the strength of having a Duck of Edinburgh Gold Award. Her award really connected with the head of HR, who called her in and hired her on the spot. A few months later, and she was asked about her award. She just laughed.
Not everyone is as clever. CV Write, pro CV writing company, has reported “some of the more ‘interesting’ things we have seen in CVs this year. Here goes. For anyone looking in with desires of working at Anorak (oh, the dream), we’ve marked the comments marked ‘A’ get you the interview.
I also like to boast that I can complete the Rubik’s cube in 2 minutes.
I am currently Falkirk’s Miss Personality. (A)
YOUNG Soo Lee , the owner of a newsstand in Atlanta, and Thuy Nguyen of San Jose, Calif., each sold one of the two winning Mega Millions tickets, worth $636 million in all before taxes.
Nguyen earned $1 million, as per California state law. Lee could get nothing.
That seems incredibly unfair. Nguyen says he is “very lucky”. Lee might wonder why she gets to live in a poorer state than California and win less for her customer’s good fortune?
“I’m so excited and so happy now,” Soolee said. “I love my store and the customer now.”
That loved customer may care to give sweet Soo some money.
YOU might recall back a couple of years there was a great panic as China decided to limit the export of the rare earths. These are the weird metals that are essential to much of modern technology, making the magnets for hard drives, earphones and windmills, batteries for electric cars and those new fangled light bulbs that flicker in the dark.
The situation was that China produced 95% of all the world’s production of these metals. Not for any particular reason other than that they were willing to make them cheap and put up with the pollution from doing so. Then they decided, well, we’ve got a bit of a monopoly going here lads. Let’s raise the prices and make huge profits! Hurrah!
WAR on Want has decided to show its gross ignorance by complaining about the tax affairs of Alliance Boots. It’s their new big campaign, they’ve even gone off and complained to the OECD about it all. But the problem is that they’ve not actually shown that any tax has been avoided: not even shown that less tax has been paid overall.
New research shows that Alliance Boots, the high street chemist and pharmaceutical giant, has avoided more than £1 billion in tax since it went private six years ago through taking on excessive debts, profit shifting and corporate restructuring. This report, Alliance Boots & The Tax Gap, published by War on Want, Unite the Union and Change to Win, exposes the full scale of Boots’ tax avoidance for the first time.
WE have Ed Miliboy whining about a tax cut for hedge funds:
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, in September suggested that Labour would reinstate the tax, describing the Coalition move as a “tax cut on hedge funds”.
Hmm, wonder what this could be?
The Treasury has promised to abolish “Schedule 19” stamp duty reserve tax, which applies to some investments sold by funds.
CHEF Jim Knight, allegedly sacked from The Plough in Oxford after, as he claims, he asked to spend the holiday with his baby daughter, has been using the restaurant’s Twitter feed to tell all.
Happy Christmas everyone
— The Plough (@ploughpub) December 15, 2013
THERE’S a bit of a logical disconnect in this idea that we’re all going to sign up for streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify and so on. The problem being that the more free services there are competing for our custom then the fewer of us are going to bother to pay for it. This is indeed how it normally works you know, more suppliers thus lower prices to consumers:
Yet even as they have grown, streaming companies have encountered a stubborn problem: Music lovers will consume large amounts of music as long as it is free, but getting them to pay a monthly subscription has proved much more difficult.
I ALWAYS feel remarkable clever when I find the Financial Times agrees with one of my ideas. It seems like confirmation that I’ve had a good idea sorta thing. And here they’re saying that investing in Bitcoin doesn’t look all that good an idea. For you can start up your own digital currency instead.
Buying Bitcoins while their price is so bubbly is nothing more than a gamble. Investing in other online currencies, or in companies that can help the Bitcoin economy develop, looks like a sensible use of a venture capitalist’s money.
HAVE you heard of the unique business is Wisconsin called Snuggle House? Chances are, you haven’t. The idea behind the place was to offer snuggles to anyone who wanted one. For £37 an hour. You could have a little intimacy and get your hair stroked and then be on your way.
That’s slightly odd, but kinda nice, right?
DEAR Lord this is piffle:
This year, state government subsidies to corporations, partnerships, and other businesses in New York state alone will total $1.7 billion, triple the giveaways in 2005, according to the new study. That’s $235 taken from the average Empire State household this year and redistributed to business owners on the theory that redistribution will create jobs.
During those years, the number of jobs in New York declined, the state’s official jobs data website shows. The total number of New Yorkers employed in 2012 was down 175,000, or 2 percent, compared with 2005.
This is used to show that tax incentives to companies does not provide jobs. For, as you can see, we’ve been providing more subsidies but there are fewer jobs!
IT is the season for the awards ceremonies and one organisation has declared that this, the iPotty, is the worst toy of the year. I have to admit that I can’t quite see it myself: either as the worst toy of this or any other year or as an actual product to be honest. What it actually is is simply a potty to be used, obviously, for potty training and containing a stand into which one can slip one of Apple’s iPads. And you might think that that’s about it and not something so heinous as to deserve this award:
BOSTON—December 9—It’s official. Fed up with the latest effort to insinuate screens into every nook and cranny of young children’s lives, members of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood selected the 2-In-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad by CTA Digital as winner of this year’s TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year.
INEQUALITY. Is it harmful? It can be. When caused by cronyism.
In other words, is it a bad thing for a country to have some really rich people? Again, it depends on how they got rich.
Sutirtha Bagchi of the University of Michigan’s business school and Jan Svejnar of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs studied how inequality correlates with economic growth. In general, more inequality meant slower growth, and less inequality meant faster growth.
But in many countries, over various time periods, growing inequality had no effect on economic growth. The new study suggests that an increase in inequality hurt the economy when the rich were getting rich through political connections.
That is, inequality hurts the economy when “a large share of the national wealth is held by a small number of politically connected families,” as the authors put it. . . . When a country’s wealthiest people got their wealth as Pangestu and Fridman did, inequality places a drag on the economy. When a country’s wealthiest got wealthy through market means, the resulting inequality has no negative effect on economic growth.
This jibes with what we know about free markets. If people can get rich by providing valuable things at good prices, then society will get more valuable things at good prices—and people across the income spectrum benefit. But if people get rich by pocketing subsidies and using the state to crush competitors, then they gained their wealth at the expense of everyone else.