Money Category

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

Your Kindle books, iTune songs and online videos are worthless

I’M sure we’ve all done the trudge down to the second hand bookshop when the shelves get overloaded. Get back 50 p a copy for the old paperbacks sorta stuff. Or the equivalent at the CD shop, even bundled up the stuff and gone to a car boot sale.

The big question in this modern digital age is whether we’re going to be able to do the same with out Kindle books, online videos and MP3 music files.

The short answer is: No.

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Posted: 8th, November 2012 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comments (3)

Lady Gaga wants to share Obama’s cake

LADY Gaga was for Obama:

“I’m a Catholic and I make a lot of money and I want to give a lot of it back and I don’t want any tax breaks. I want people in my country that don’t have a lot; I want them to have more. I want them to have what I have. I feel guilty every day that I can’t give it to everyone.”

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Posted: 7th, November 2012 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comment

Floods, hurricanes and the cost of home insurance

AFTER Hurricane Sandy we’ve had the usual claims that climate change is going to make life more expensive for us all. We also get the same thing being said here in the UK whenever there’s a flood. The idea being that as climate change makes floods and hurricanes and tempests and cyclones and disasters and Aiiiieee!we’reallgonnadie!  more likely then the expense of these things is going to continue to rise.

Rebuilding after them will become ever more expensive, house insurance, hurricane insurance, flood insurance, all will be come more expensive as a result of climate change. As all of those things have been getting more expensive in recent years and it’s all climate change’s fault.

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Posted: 7th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment

On The Nonsense That Is Bill McKibben

SO. Dear Old Bill McKibben is out and about again telling us that it’s all these evil corporations that are to blame for climate change:

As gutsy New Yorkers begin the task of drying out the city, here’s one thought that occurred to me last night watching the horrifying pictures from a distance. It’s obviously not crucial right now – but in the long run it might make a difference. Why don’t we stop naming these storms for people, and start naming them after oil companies?

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Posted: 6th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

I wonder if we can get The Guardian into the 21st Century?

WILL the Guardian move into the 21st Century? Might be slightly difficult, trying to get the liberal arts types who write the Guardian up to speed. But could be worth it if we can manage it.

They’ve an editorial today about the decline of the High Street. How terrible it is, great national crisis, Boo Hoo etc.

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Posted: 5th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Polly Toynbee really needs to learn some economics

OK, so there are some nutters out there (like me!) who think that we should leave the European Union. There are arguments about why this might not be a good idea. But this is not one of them:

The cost of membership is not high: we pay a net 1% of GDP, the same as France, 85% of it redistributed to poorer countries. What we get back in trade is far greater:

The mistake being in the “what we get back from trade”.

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Posted: 2nd, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment

A nuclear bomb is not a dirty bomb

I’M not sure here whether it’s the Mail getting things mixed up or whether we’ve actually got a government minister getting mixed up. The likelihood of either is so high that who is able to tell?

A dirty bomb attack is a ‘real threat’ faced by Britain, the Foreign Office will warn today. The government claims nuclear terrorism is still one of the biggest threats to global peace. Minister Alistair Burt will use a speech to warn of the dangers posed by a rise nuclear weapons being smuggled around the world.

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Posted: 1st, November 2012 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1)

UK Uncut really don’t know what they’re talking about, do they?

IN a press release from UK Uncut we see this:

A report in the Times newspaper (20/09/12) outlined how 533 directors of UK companies have registered addresses in Monaco. Despite vetting by HMRC, the government has still seen fit to award several tax exiles with honours. These include the billionaire Sir Phillip Green- who avoided £285million in capital gains tax in 2005. UK Uncut activists have repeatedly targeted Green by occupying branches of his Arcadia fashion empire.

Err, no. Just no.

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Posted: 31st, October 2012 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (12)

Amazingly, we treat too many women for breast cancer

WE treat too many women for breast cancer… Yes, yes, I know, this story is from the Mail where everything either causes or cures cancer. However, they are actually correct here:

About 4,000 women each year endure gruelling, unnecessary treatment for breast cancers that were not life-threatening, a review has found.

For every life saved by early detection, three women have therapy they do not need, according to the most definitive investigation of breast cancer screening so far.

Nearly all are given aggressive treatments – including chemotherapy, radiotherapy or having a breast removed – even though they might never have experienced any symptoms during their lifetime because their cancers were slow growing or non-aggressive.

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Posted: 30th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Why manufacturing jobs are leaving China

YOU may not know that this is true: but it is. The number of manufacturing jobs in China is falling. The reason why is really very simple:

A 16pc annual rise in Chinese wages over the last decade has changed the game.

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Posted: 30th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment

French want Google to pay to link to websites

THE latest installment of the Gallic incomprehension of the most basic pieces of economics is that they want to charge Google for indexing the French newspapers. Something that is really very absurd indeed.

France’s new government has been making noise about forcing Google to pay for the privilege of linking to French news sites.

Erm, what?

Google responded by threatening to remove all French news sites from its index, which would presumably eliminate the 4 billion clicks it sends to those sites every year.

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Posted: 27th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

A pictorial history of the Made In Britain Ford Transit van

IS FORD ready to close the Ford Transit Assembly Plant in Southampton? Union officials said it was a “very worrying time” for the 500 employees at the Southampton site, which has been making Transit vans since 1972. Have any of you been in one?


Image 1 of 15

The remains of the Ford Transit van used to launch the mortar attack on Tempo RUC station, Co. Fermanagh, on Saturday evening. No-one has claimed responsibility, but the IRA have been blamed for the attack. Photo by Brian Little/PA. SEE PA STORY ULSTER Attack.

Posted: 25th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Amazon’s about to get more expensive

THE EU has finally woken up to that despicable little bit of tax dodging:

Amazon is to be stripped of its huge tax advantage on the sales of electronic books after the European commission ordered Luxembourg to close a VAT loophole.

Amazon is registered as a Luxembourg company and pays that country’s VAT charge of 3% when it sells an ebook to a British reader, rather than the 20% it would have to charge if it were UK-based.
The European commission – which oversees European Union law as the EU’s executive arm – on Wednesday gave Luxembourg 30 days to increase its VAT rate on digital services from 3% to 15%. This will close a tax loophole that has encouraged companies such as Amazon, Skype and Netflix to be based in Luxembourg to benefit from the 3% rate when selling throughout the EU.

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Posted: 25th, October 2012 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Why is Barroso lying to us about the Robin Hood Tax?

A CERTAIN Mr. Barroso tells us today that the Robin Hood Tax is a really wonderful idea:

Mr Barroso said the legal requirements and conditions had been met and he did not believe the tax would undermine the single market if it were imposed across limited parts of the European Union. “I am delighted to see that 10 member states have indicated their willingness to participate in a common financial transaction tax,” he said. “This tax can raise billions of euros of much-needed revenue for member states in these difficult times.”

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Posted: 24th, October 2012 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment

Climate Change will not mean you die from malaria

ONE of the things we’re often told about climate change is that the increasing heat will bring back malaria. As temperatures rise then the mozzies that carry it will be able to live further north and thus we’ll all die aiieeeee!

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Posted: 23rd, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Apparently eBay’s dodging taxes too

EBAY is dodging taxes. Or so said the Sunday Times over the weekend. The company, instead of collecting money for stuff here in the UK collects it through it’s Luxembourg PayPal company. So all the taxes get collected over there, not over here.

This is being called, umm, tax dodging, or tax avoidance. It’s certainly not tax evasion as everyone knows it’s legal.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

The best placards from the TUC anti-austerity march

AT yesterday’s TUC march, aside from watching Ed Miliband’s train face, the eyes were on the placards. Could they be funny?


Image 1 of 16

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Posted: 21st, October 2012 | In: Money, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1)

Making petrol from air

I’VE no idea whether this is just a spoof story that’s been fed to the Telegraph or whether there really are some people sufficiently deluded to think that this is a good idea. But there’s a story today that you can make petrol from air. And this is how you do it:

A small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity.

Experts tonight hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before “electrolysing” the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.

The company, Air Fuel Syndication, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.

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Posted: 20th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment (1)

Help us choose what Apple will say in its Samsung ads

THIS is rather a fun little court ruling. After all the piling onto Samsung that Apple have done in courtrooms around the world now they’ve got to run ads in the UK praising them.

Well, Apple has just lost the High Court appeal to have that decision overturned, meaning that despite the backhanded compliment, it will still have to run adverts in the press stating that the Korean giant had not copied its tablet designs.

Most, most amusing.

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Posted: 19th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comments (3)

Google, Facebook, Starbucks: The Guardian on how much UK tax corporates pay

THIS is obviously part of a coordinated effort to get something or other changed. The constant drip drip of stories about how much tax multi-national companies are paying in the UK. There are however two basic faults with the whole idea that is being pursued. The first is clear and evident in this Guardian piece:

We got the data via Duedil, which has made getting hold of financial information from company reports an art. The group of companies – and you can download and explore the data below – have a combined turnover between 2008 and 2011 of £116.4bn. They declared total profits before tax of £5bn – and paid taxes of £1.5bn.

Many of the famous names have declared losses: Starbucks says it lost £32m in 2011, Google lost £20.7m and Facebook lost £13.9m. Explore the data below – we’ve included total turnover, the profit declared before tax and the actual tax paid, for every year from 2008 to 2011.

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Posted: 17th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Those godless Tories are slashing Government to the bone!

THE Tories are slashing Government to the bone. That’s what we’re told over in The Guardian. It’s just appalling, the damage that the Tories are doing to the State.

Strip away the usual economic and financial alibis for such drastic austerity and what you’re inevitably left with is a purely political motive: namely, a desire to transform the British state from being recognisably European, with continental levels of public spending, to something sub-American in its miserliness.

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Posted: 17th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Britain’s not as unequal as you think

WE hear a lot of wailing about how Britain is more unequal than many other European countries. It’s all down to neoliberalism of course: us bastard capitalist grinding the faces of the poor into the dust. However, the country’s really not quite as unequal as many think: and the reason isn’t neoliberalism either.

Here’s a slideshow at the Telegraph. It’s about house prices around the country. 1 square metre of housing in Westminser costs £7,500. One square metre in Newport £1,100. OK, so you could say that just shows how unequal the country is. Or you could think a little more and then ever that inequality is much less than is recorded in the official figures.

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Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

It just ain’t tax avoidance folks

MUCH has been made in the past couple of days of the way that Facebook doesn’t pay any corporation tax in the UK despite selling £175 million of ads here. The same has been said in the past about Google, about Apple and Amazon flogging stuff from Luxembourg and so on.

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Posted: 12th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

The New Economics Foundation are insane

THIS won’t come as much surprise to close observers but the New Economics Foundation seem to have gone well past the woo barrier into entire insanity.

Radicals have long understood the importance of the garden. Now the New Economics Foundation has got the numbers to back up the sentiment. We and the national economy would be better off for a day in the garden. Ideally a communal garden, since volunteering is probably the only other activity that can be as conducive to a feeling of wellbeing. NEF has quantified the impact of a shorter working week (spreading the available work around) and the personal benefits of spending the spare day digging, planting, pruning and potting. Time outdoors is a stress-busting, calorie-consuming, mobility-enhancing, all-round good thing, and time spent growing stuff you can eat is just the proverbial icing on the homegrown strawberries. It makes economic sense too: from Utrecht to Utah, four-day working week experiments (not necessarily involving fewer hours worked) make people more productive, happier, and thinner.

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Posted: 11th, October 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The machines are going to steal all our jobs!

LUDDISM is alive and well in the modern world. The idea that as the machines do more and more of the work then there just won’t be enough jobs to go around. Here is The Economist worrying about that very thing:

It is possible that Ms Parmeshwari and other “manual scavengers” will be able to find healthier lines of work, especially if the Indian economy regains its vigour. As Mr Gordon noted in his paper, women in the West were not deprived of gainful employment after having been liberated from the task of fetching clean water. Still, one has to wonder what will happen to all the people destined to be replaced by pipes.

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Posted: 10th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment