Money | Anorak - Part 32

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

Apple’s sales rise, profits rise, shares tank: WTF?

A USEFUL little reminder of something that economists keep trying to tell people but which often doesn’t seem to get through. Stock markets are forward looking.

So, we have Apple reporting its financial results for the most recent quarter. Profits were up (only very slightly, but they were). Sales were well up. Everything’s looking pretty rosy in hte Cupertino garden. At which point the shares drop 10% in minutes.

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Posted: 29th, January 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

This sexual equality thing’s gone a bit too far now, hasn’t it?

IT’S most certainly true that we didn’t go far enough with this equality thing in the past. Heck, it was only in the 1970s that a woman could have a bank account without some bloke signing for her. Only in the 80s that mortgages became unisex. And only in the late 80s that the tax system started to treat women as economic individuals rather than just hangers on to any household they belonged to. So, Hurrah! Civilisation has improved.

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Posted: 28th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comments (7)

China shows why Microsoft is screwed

THERE been some recent whining from Microsoft about how they get to sell bugger all in China. As opposed to Apple who can’t make things fast enough. Some of this is of course because Microsoft sells software, something often ripped off in that lovely country. But there’s something else as well: and it’s a neat illustration of why Microsoft is, essentially, screwed.

China’s Internet population surges to 564 million, 75 percent on mobile

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Posted: 25th, January 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comments (3)

Now That Europe’s Got A Robin Hood Tax Let’s Not Have One

THE Robin Hood Tax people are all ever so excited. Half the countries over in the eurozone have now been given permission to have one and it looks like France will get one around the end of 2014. The argument is thus that because they’re all getting such a lovely financial transactions tax therefore we should immediately run off and do the same thing.

However, the correct argument would be, well, seeing as they’re doing this experiemtn why don’t we wait and see what the results are? You know, just check that all hte claims being made about such a tax are in fact correct?

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Posted: 24th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comments (6)

Comment is free? Guardian worker writes of executives lavish excess

THE Guardian is heading Down Under to Australia. What do the workers think of the idea? This letter appeared on the Guardian/Observer Weekend section:

 ”Afternoon Alan – I’m a member of Guardian staff, posting anonymously.

 As you know, it’s a tough time for your journalists at the moment – especially for those of us way down the food chain: the production grunts, the desk-bound, the ones who actually produce the content.

We’re working harder and harder (because we love the papers), coping with dwindling resources and morale, we’re badly mismanaged, and trying to cope with the life-changing threat of compulsory redundancies – all a result of the company’s long-term financial illiteracy and lavish excess at the top.

So I just want to say thanks for the series of articles – three now, isn’t it? – about learning to play your Fazioli piano. They’re brilliantly timed, and I know they’ll lift spirits. We always wondered how you filled your days, how you spent your fortune. Now we know.”

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Posted: 23rd, January 2013 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Verizon worker outsources own job to China

BORED in your job? Don’t worry. Someone in China will do it for less. This man outsourced his own job:

It’s a worst-case scenario for most employees: There’s someone in China who can do your job quickly, efficiently and for about one-fifth of your salary, and your boss absolutely loves his work.

But one U.S. software developer turned this nightmare on its head and actually benefited from outsourcing, a report says. That’s because, unbeknownst to his bosses, he hired a Chinese developer to do his job, allowing him to take home impeccable performance reviews while actually spending the day watching cat videos and shopping on EBay.

According to Andrew Valentine, who works on the Verizon Risk Team investigating data breaches, the employee, who Valentine calls Bob, had pulled off the stunt for some time, allowing him to relax and earn a good salary while someone in China did his job for him. . . . Suffice it to say, Bob is no longer working for the company. It’s possible that he is missed, though. His performance reviews were impeccable, and his company considered him the best developer in the building.

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Posted: 21st, January 2013 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Let’s tax fuel to reduce fuel poverty!

THERE really are loons out there. Here’s a case in point. The argument is that energy is getting more expensive. This puts some people into “fuel poverty” where they are spending more than 10% of their incomes on fuel. Hmm.

So, what might we do to address this situation? Hey, why don’t we put a tax on fuel to make it more expensive! That’ll work, right?

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Posted: 21st, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Law graduate robs bank to pay student loan debt

WHY did Randall H. Hubatch, 49, of Madison, dress up to rob a bank? To pay his student loan debt:

A man who wore a three-dimensional Bucky Badger hat when he allegedly robbed an East Side credit union last week told police that he wants to go to prison and needed the money because he has $250,000 in student debt…

An online UW-Madison directory lists Hubatch as a lead custodian at Union South on the UW-Madison campus. University spokesman John Lucas said Hubatch is not a current student but earned a bachelor’s in English in 1998 and a law degree in 2004.

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

What the hell’s wrong with Goldman Sachs’ profits going to the workers?

I DO desperately struggle to understand what it is that people are whining about here

Goldman Sachs was accused of a ‘lack of sensitivity’ last night after handing out average pay and perks of £250,000 – a rise of 5 per cent.

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Posted: 18th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

The greatest newspaper graphic of all time: America’s huddled rich

ABOVE is the graphic the Wall Street Times published to illustrate its story about rising taxes in the US.

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Posted: 18th, January 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (4)

So what has this neoliberalism ever done for us?

WHAT has neoliberalism done for us. So asks George Monbiot this morning. All this pandering to the rich, allowing offshoring, the hollowing out of all that was good and wondrous in the British economy. What good has it done he asks us:

The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples – in a thousand business schools, the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and just about every modern government – have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are now in. Total failure.

Total failure eh? Rather depends where you look really.

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Posted: 16th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

How the inconsistent rich and rewarded socialists want us to live

DAVID Thompson nails them:

For some, professions of egalitarianism and socialist belly fire are a kind of rhetorical chaff – a way to elevate oneself as More Compassionate Than Thou, while deflecting envy from below. (“Please don’t hate me for being richer than you. Look, over there – they have even more, or almost as much – let’s all hiss at them!”) Vicarious philanthropy – giving away freely other people’s earnings – is a remarkably effective ruse, so much so it seems to encourage a certain disregard for dissonance, as demonstrated, for example, by the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger in this comical exchange with Piers Morgan. And by the Guardian’s imperious class warrior Polly Toynbee, whose rhetoric was contrasted with her actual lifestyle and was promptly reduced to indignant spluttering on national television. Similar obliviousness is also displayed by the millionaire actor Jeremy Irons, who denounces consumerism and asks, “How many clothes do people need?” All while owning no fewer than seven houses, one of which is a peach-coloured castle. No, you’re not allowed to laugh. Because his wife is also very Green and “deeply socialist.”

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Posted: 14th, January 2013 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comments (2)

Sugar: the latest godawful health scare

IT has to be the Mail reporting this, doesn’t it? But here it is, the shocking news that UK cereals contain more sugar than US cereals.

Breakfast cereals sold in Britain contain as much as 30 per cent more sugar than the same products in the United States.

Cue wails, outrage, you must do more, you’re poisoning us you bastards etc.

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Posted: 14th, January 2013 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment

How the piggy bank got it name

WHY is it caalled a piggy bank? Megan Cohen knows (it’s nothing to do with pigs):

In [the Midde Ages], when the question of where to keep money arose, people didn’t typically have the option of a local bank. Instead, the answer oftentimes involved keeping their valuables in a vessel made of pygg. 

What was pygg, exactly? Pygg, a word with Old English origins, was a type of dense orange clay, popular in Western Europe for its use in the creation of a wide variety of containers, jars, and cups. The common name for these containers was “pygg jars.” As the pygg jars were fairly ubiquitous, they were used for storing a variety of items, including money. 

Pigs and banking fits, doen’t it?

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

No, we shouldn’t pay MPs more

THEY’RE whining again. They’re very important people doncha know, these Members of Parliament. And as they’re very important people they should be paid lots more of our money:

Seven in 10 MPs said they were underpaid on £65,738 a year, according to a survey by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). On average, MPs said they deserved salaries of £86,250 — a 32 per cent rise.

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Posted: 11th, January 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comments (3)

Whitehaven Coal v Jonathan Moylan

SURELY this will see the fraudsters end up in prison:

Environmental campaigners sparked a 9pc dive in the share price of Australian miner Whitehaven Coal after issuing a fake press release regarding a multi-million dollar funding facility.

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Posted: 10th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Why is childcare so expensive in Britain? Because the law is dumb

NOT that you’d need to be all that intelligent to grasp this particular point.

You’ll have heard it said that the UK has the most expensive childcare in Europe. Heck, the World, Galaxy, Milky Way. This leading inevitably to the conclusion that more money must be ripped off people without children to be spent on caring for the snotbreeders of others.

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Posted: 9th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comments (3)

The Guardian wants richer unpaid interns to apply for its work placement scheme

WHAT does the Guardian think of unpaid internships?

‘Join the fight against unpaid internships’ – Unless students refuse to work for free, employers will continue to exploit them, argues campaigner Libby Page

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Posted: 9th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Keep track of your poo portfolio with this Ladies of Manure calendar

DO you compost? Do you process your own excrement? Do you want to mark down your bowel movements on a calendar? Take a gander at the Ladies of Manure:

Fertile Earth Foundation is an environmental nonprofit based in Miami mostly known for our composting initiatives. We’ve been teaching people to rethink their waste for over 4 years. For those of you who don’t know what composting is, it’s basically turning organic waste into rich fertile soil. Organic waste is stuff like kitchen scraps, newspaper, yard trimmings, manure, even your very own poop! Anything that is not plastic, metal, or glass can be composted

During a Fertile Earth Workshop last year, one of our volunteers asked, “How did we get so far removed from our poop?” And it got us thinking… How many people think about their poop as often as we do? How often do you ponder your #2? It tells us a lot about our health and what we need to eat, if we are dehydrated and so on. Plus, did you know there are safe ways to turn even our waste into Humanure? Yes, that is composted human poop! Your poop could be turned into to super rich black gold! Ok, maybe we’re grossing you out. Let’s change the subject. How often do you think about sex? Or beautiful women? This project is a tasteful synergy of those 2 things: The Ladies of Manure 2013 Calendar.

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Posted: 8th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)

On the trillion dollar platinum coin

ONE of the stories you might start hearing about soon enough is the American trillion dollar (yes, trillion, that’s one thousand billion) platinum coin. It;s actually possible that they might go ahead and mint one.

Bit difficult to get change for it but….yet still, here is your handy cut out and keep guide to what is going on.

Yes, the US government has a large debt. It is also running a large deficit: so that debt is getting bigger all the time. So far so damn like every other country at present. However, in the US they also have something called the “debt ceiling”. This is the maximum amount that congress has said that the Federal Government can borrow.

Now, they can raise this number whenever they want: as they have done multiple times in the past. But there’s always a certain amount of haggling when they do so. Various Senators  who might vote against it are promised new defense plants for their states, that sort of thing.

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Posted: 7th, January 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment

It’s official: minimum alcohol pricing is illegal

I’VE never really understood what the wowsers have been trying to do with this minimum alcohol pricing lark. If you want booze to be more expensive then put the taxes up. At least that way you’ll get some tax revenue. Why you’d want minimum pricing instead I cannot understand: all that does is increase the manufacturers’ profits.

I’m also not really sure why the price has to go up. Boozing has been falling gently for a decade or so, binge drinking is declining. There doesn’t seem to be any emergency that needs a solution.

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Posted: 7th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment

China’s stadium diplomacy – for when the pandas are dead

CHINA is coming.

Frank Dikötter notes:

From the copper mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the natural gas holdings of Turkmenistan, a giant octopus extends its tentacles, trading finished products for natural resources. In South America 90 per cent of exports to China are unprocessed or barely processed natural resources. The proportion is about the same for Africa. China not only extracts, it also constructs. In what the authors call ‘stadium diplomacy’, dozens of ‘friendship stadiums’ are presented as gifts to countries around the world. Critics characterise them as Trojan horses used to conquer local markets. 

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Posted: 4th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment

The hell of working in a restaurant kitchen

WILLOUGHBY Cooke explains why celebrity chefs stop working in kitchens:

[My] career has spanned eleven years, during which I’ve worked as a prep cook, fry cook, pantry cook, grill cook, pastry chef, and baker. The least I’ve made was $7.50 per hour; the most was $13.50. To be a line cook and eventually a chef you must submit to the hell that is the professional kitchen: long hours, low pay, no breaks, no respect. As you advance up the line, the work gets harder and the responsibility increases while the pay does not. An entry level line cook job starts at as low as $8 an hour and tops out at around $15. (In 2011, the national median wage for line cooks was $10.61, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

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Posted: 4th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Will Jean Michel Jarre be the next French tax exile in London?

GUIDO’S claiming an exclusive, that Jean Michel Jarre is going to be the next Frenchman fleeing from the 75% tax rate.

I’m not entirely sure about that: not all of Guido’s exclusives have turned out to be entirely and wholly true over the years.

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Posted: 2nd, January 2013 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comment

Paul from Clerkenwell calls Julia Hartley-Brewer on LBC

PAUL from Clerkenwell calls Julia Hartley-Brewer on LBC to talk about benefit cards:

Posted: 31st, December 2012 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (3)