Money | Anorak - Part 31

Money Category

Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

The Great Chinese Green Energy Revolution

IT would appear that our Far Eastern cousins are actually doing something sensible about this green energy and saving Gaia bit:

Business is also more promising. By 2020 Jiuquan plans to increase wind power generation sixfold to 40GW. Wu predicts even faster growth between 2020 and 2030, when solar power starts to take off: “That’s when the technology will have matured and the generating costs will be lower. By 2030, I think China will get half its energy from renewable resources and Jiuquan will be famous around the world. People here are going to be rich.”

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Posted: 1st, March 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Oooh! Yes please, let’s have local, politically connected banks!

YOU’VE heard the calls. It’s mad to have only a handful of banks that are too big to fail. We should have local and regional banks And put localy politicians, union leaders, on their boards as well. To make sure that the needs of society are catered to, not just shareholders.

Well, yes, that’s as maybe, But then let’s go and have a look at the end results of that sort of system:

Nationalised Spanish lender Bankia is expected to reveal a €19bn loss next week, the largest in the country’s corporate history.

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Posted: 28th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Economics is in absolutely everything, even having babies

THIS should’t come as too much of a surprise actually, that there’s economics in everything. For everything that we do, everything that happens, requires resrouces. As economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, there’s therefore economics in everything.

Yes, even in the having of babies:

The data was collected from individuals born in eight different Finnish parishes, covering the 17th to 20th centuries, when a mostly-agricultural society did not have access to modern birth-control or medical care.

Dr Helle said that a mother who had six sons would live for a further 32.4 years on average after the birth of her last child, while a woman who had daughters could expect to die 33.1 years after her final labour.

He said: ‘The research shows the more sons you have the lower post-reproductive survival was. Biologically, there is a bigger cost associated with having a boy than a girl, so that is one explanation for the shorter lifespan.’

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Posted: 28th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Why bother working at a 100% tax rate?

THERE’S this idea out there, this Laffer Curve thing. The idea is that at 0% tax you’ll not collect any tax revenue. Fairly obvious really. And at 100% tax rate no one will bother going to work. Also fairly obvious. At rates in between people will go to work: and there’s one tax rate somewhere that maximises the tax take.

Of course, everyone argues that we’re never going to have a 100% tax rate. Just not going to happen.

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Posted: 27th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

That Olympics legacy: a ‘smoke and mirrors approach’ to Olympic ticket sales

THE Olympics Legacy: 

The London 2012 organising committee has been criticised for a “smoke and mirrors approach” to Olympic ticket sales after figures revealed a significant number were obtained by VIPs rather than the public and some were not distributed evenly across individual price bands.

Golly, Gosh. Isn’t that shocking?

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Posted: 27th, February 2013 | In: Money, Sports | Comment

The real problem after the Italian election: tell all those creditors to go screw

WELL, you can call it a problem if you like, personally I’d call it a godsend. But there are two things which should be making the European Union federast types very nervous right now. The first is that while neither of them actually won the election the winners in terms of doing really well were Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo. One’s a comedian and the other isn’t a billionaire on trial for under-aged whoring. But between the two of them this is true:

The projected results showed more than half of Italians had voted for the anti-euro platforms of Berlusconi and Grillo.

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Posted: 26th, February 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment

BT’s worth more as scrap copper than it is as a telecoms company

BT’s worth more as scrap copper than it is as a telecoms company.Not that this will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has actually had to use BT of course. But from this it’s easy enough to calculate that BT is worth more as a mountain of scrap copper wire than it is as a functioning (ahem) telecoms company

BT’s network relies on more than 75 million miles of copper cable

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Posted: 26th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Don’t worry about the Bulgarians flooding the country

FOR a lot of them have already left Bulgaria. There aren’t that many left to leave.

As you may or may not know soon enough the Bulgarians and Romanians will be free to immigrate into the UK under the EU rules. They had to wait 7 years before they got the same freedom of movement that the rest of us have and those 7 years are just about up.

So, are we going to see a flood of Bulgarians similar to the flood of Poles we had a few years back? Many of whom have gone home again  but not all.

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Posted: 25th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

European Union is looking into imposing import duties on cheap Chinese solar panels: facepalm

THE European Union is looking into imposing import duties on cheap Chinese solar panels. If they go ahead with this it will be one of the most ludicroulsy stupid things any government has ever done: yes, worse than a land war in Asia. Not as bloody or wasteful, but more stupid:

The UK could lose billions of pounds and thousands of jobs in the solar industry if the EU imposes tariffs on cheap imported panels from China, a report has claimed.

The European commission is investigating if solar panels coming into Europe from China are being sold below market value – known as “dumping” – and benefiting from unfair Chinese government subsidies.

The move by the commission, instigated last year, is the largest of its kind, with solar panels and key components worth more than £18bn exported from China to the EU in 2011.

It followed complaints from European solar manufacturers and could lead to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties being imposed on Chinese-made panels to stop the cheap imports harming Europe’s domestic industry.


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Posted: 25th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Apple and Microsoft gadgets are more expensive in Australia because of politicians and their taxes

THE Aussie politicians are getting all angry at the tech companies because Australians have to pay more for their shiny shiny tech than do Americans. But you would think that someone devious enough to actually get elected would have the brains to work this out, wouldn’t you?

The IT Pricing Inquiry being conducted by Australia’s House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has issued summons to Apple, Microsoft and Adobe.

The inquiry kicked off in 2012 and is investigating why Australians pay more for hardware and software than those overseas.

At current exchange rate one Australian dollar buys $US1.03. Yet Australians often pay more in Australian dollars than Americans are charged in their currency.

An example of the discrepancy can be seen in the price of a 16GB WiFi iPad with Retina Display. In the USA the fondleslab costs $US499. In Australia it’s $AUD539.

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Posted: 22nd, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Why do we contract out public services – and lifeboats?

WHY do we contract out public services? Zoe tells us in The Guardian that it’s all just a terrible idea:

What happens when these firms, with their inexorable expansionist logic, bite off more than they can chew? We pay anyway. We paid G4S; we will pay it again when its prisons catch fire. We will pay A4e when it finds no jobs, we will pay Serco when its probation services fail. We will pay because even when they’re not delivered by the public sector, these are still public services, and the ones that aren’t too big to fail are too important. What any government creates with massive-scale outsourcing is not “new efficiency”, it is a shadow state; we can’t pin it down any more than we can vote it out. All we can do is watch.

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Posted: 20th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Whinging about salaries at tech companies is plain stupid

THIS does get depressing, vaunted media experts pronouncing on matters economic without actually understanding anything about economics. The Observer’s John Naughton wants us to get all upset about the way that these vast fortunes being made in hte tech comapniues only go to the entrepreneurs and the engineers. The average staff doing the average jobs just get the usual crap.

Well, yes, that’s how the system is supposed to work:

These vast revenues, however, are not being widely shared. Instead, they are mostly enriching the founders and shareholders of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook et al. Of course, those who work at the heart of these organisations – the engineers, developers and the executives who manage them, for example – are richly rewarded in salaries, stock options and lavish perks. But these gilded employees constitute only a minority of the workforces of the big tech companies and most of their colleagues have decidedly more mundane terms of employment – and remuneration.

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Posted: 19th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Demonising Tewkesbury mum-of-11 Heather Frost

HEATHER Frost, mother to 11 at just 36-years young – she started at 14 – is moving into a £400,000, 6-bedroom council house. The Sun says it’s a “PALACE FIT FOR A DOLE QUEEN“.

Frost is the “jobless mum on benefits” looking to move into a 1,850 sq-ft house in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

The Express also looks at the mum of 11, only it gives her age as 37.

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Posted: 19th, February 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comments (6)

Dell does go private – but why?

IT’S been announced that Michael Dell is going to buy back his company and take it private. The buyout price is $13.65 a share for a total just north of $24 billion. The big questions is: why?

Clearly, the obvious answer is that they think the company is worth more than the stock market thinks the company is worth. That’s why you buy things: because other people value them at a lower price than you do. But why do they think this?

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Posted: 18th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Business fashions do move in cycles: Another World on BB 10

THAT old DOS computer game, Another World. has just been ported over to the new BlackBerry operating system, BB 10. Which just goes to show that fashions in the business world really do go in cycles.

Eric Chahi’s seminal game work, Another World, is now available on BlackBerry 10 devices (so … uh, those of you with a Z10, though it also works on PlayBook). And not just any version, but the 20th Anniversary Edition, which adds updated graphics, a remastered soundtrack, and some gesture controls. The game’s one of several titles that publisher DotEmu is bringing to BB10, including notoriously difficult shooter R-Type.

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Posted: 15th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Consumerism, Eh? The £7,000 mobile phone

THIS did rather make me giggle. A company that makes outrageously expensive mobile phones. Their latest model costing £7,000.

The Vertu Ti costs 7,900 euros (£6,994) and is made at the firm’s headquarters in Church Crookham, Hampshire.

The device had a titanium frame and sapphire screen but was not 4G-enabled, said its designer Hutch Hutchison.

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Posted: 13th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Is Microsoft’s Excel the most dangerous software in the world?

IS Microsoft’s Excel the most dangerous software in thewWorld? It could be actually. That is, that the very existence of Excel itself makes it the most dangerous software in the world.

There’s two parts to this. One is that we’ve got the regulators trying to warn banks on the dangers of using it badly.

Both the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision1 (BCBS) and the Financial Services Authority2 (FSA) in the UK have recently made it clear that when relying on manual processes, desktop applications or key internal data flow systems such as spreadsheets, banks and insurers should have effective controls in place that are consistently applied to manage risks around incorrect, false or even fraudulent data. The citation by the BCBS is the first time that spreadsheet management has ever been specifically referenced at such a high level, a watermark in the approach to spreadsheet risk.

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Posted: 13th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Now that’s what I call tax avoidance: the Cup Trust

THIS story is really rather mindboggling. A charity that raked in £176 million over two years and then donated £55,000 to other charities. The rest of the £176 million went on fund raising costs. I have to say that I’m stunned by the audacity of it to be honest.

It’s entirely different from all of the various bits of corporate tax avoidance that the newspapers have been full of. Starbucks, as an example, simply didn’t make UK profits so they shouldn’t be paying any UK profit tax. The Vodafone thing was about who rules? UK law or EU? To which the answer is EU. And it’s possible to go on down the list of all of the UK Uncut campaigns and point out that they’re just not tax avoidance.

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Posted: 11th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Those tax dodging swine at Amazon!

GRRR! Amazon! Coming over here, making vast sales, and not a penny of tax do we see out of them. Or something like that. You know, all they’re doing is providing people with what they want, cheap, and where’s the public value in that?

Unfortunately the Guardian seems to be running their corporate tax pieces on boilerplate language these days. For they tell us that Amazon doesn’t pay tax because:

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Posted: 8th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

John Redwood Does Sarcasm

JOHN Redwood can be sarcastic:

The top 1% took home 11.2% of the nation’s net income under unequal Labour in 2009-10, and a much lower 7% this year under the much more equal Coalition. This fall goes all the way down through the top half of earners. The top 50% received  75% of total net income in 2009-10, and only 60% this year. Meanwhile the bottom half receives a bigger share of the income than at any time this century.

All those who wanted a more equal society should rejoice. Indeed, they should be voting for Coalition parties out of gratitude. The Coalition has done something Labour was quite unable to do during its period in office, when the UK became less equal.

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Posted: 6th, February 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comments (2)

This is a damn good way to spend the education budget: more orgasms

THIS is a damn good way to spend the education budget:

The University of Minnesota is spending $3,400 to host a symposium this spring specifically designed to help its female undergraduate students achieve bigger, better and more orgasms.

It’s possible to be serious about this of course. Universities are indeed places of education, training pit stops on the path through life. And there’s little that’s going to make your life more pleasant than understanding the female orgasm.

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Posted: 6th, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment

No, really, Apple still isn’t avoiding UK tax

THE Sunday Times has done yet another of its pieces on how tech comapnies are avoiding tax in the UK. Given that that paper’s gated, here’s the Telegraph telling us all about it. The real problem here is that Apple just isn’t indulging in tax avoidance: this is what the system is set up to encourage it to do

Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.

However, analysis of its filings in America suggest a more realistic figure for UK turnover is £6.7bn. This would imply an estimated profit of £2.2bn and, at the then corporation tax rate of 26pc, a £570m tax bill, the Sunday Times reports.

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Posted: 5th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Why is David Beckham only playing in France for 5 months: tax

A VERY nice little catch here by The Mirror on why David Beckham is only playing in France for five months:

The star’s contract at PSG runs for only five months.

If he stayed any longer than six he could become liable to a proposed 75% tax on his entire multi-million pound earnings by the socialist French government.

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Posted: 4th, February 2013 | In: Money, Sports | Comment

Behavioural economics: oh yes the French do move because of taxes!

ONE of the great current tropes is that the rich must pay more in taxes because that is fair. One of the current answers is that try taxing too much and the rich will leave. Which gets called unfair again.

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Posted: 1st, February 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Oh Noes! EU carbon price is too low!

I’M not sure what hope there is for the human race when even the FT gets things like this wrong. Everyone and their mother is complaining that the carbon credits price under the EU scheme to deal with climate change is too low. We’ve even had our won government insisting that there must be a carbon floor price.

The EU carbon market has been miserable for most of the past few years, with prices staggering downwards from their c.€30 levels on the scheme’s launch in 2005. But it’s become very gloomy in the past couple of weeks, with mid single digits prices falling as much as 40 per cent to a record low of €2.81 last Thursday.

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Posted: 31st, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment