Money | Anorak - Part 42

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

Will people please stop blaming Greece on the Neoliberals?!?

AS a fully paid up neoliberal myself it does irritate immensely when we get blamed for things that are absolutely none of our fault. It’s just fine to blame us for things we did fuck up (the design of British Rail’s privatisation for example) But getting shouted at because people are doing absolutely the opposite of what we Green Lizards controlling humanit recommend is going a bit too far.

Take this for example:

The slow death of Greece was a political project from the start, with politicians accepting the prescriptions of neoliberal economics.

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Posted: 5th, March 2012 | In: Money | Comment

There’s Ignorance about economics and then there’s Zoe Williams in The Guardian

TO be fair to Zoe Williams in The Guardian this morning she does say that she doesn’t know very much about economics. But then she comes out with this statement:

Real wages in this country have been falling since 1968.

That’s insane. The idea that real wages (that is, wages after inflation) are lower today than they were 44 years ago isn’t just not knowing very much about economics it’s going entirely fucking doolally.

It’s true that the labour share of income is lower than it was: the peak was in 1975. But that’s a measure of how much of the pie goes in wages to labour, not a measure of the absolute amount of money that is going in wages.

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Posted: 1st, March 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Apple is Not worth more than Poland!

APPLE is worth more than Poland?! Gaaah. This is the sort of thing that annoys. Nonsense, rubbish, ignorance…

Following an email announcing the iPad 3 launch, Apple’s share value hit an unprecedented $500bn in pre-marketing trading this morning, making the company worth more than Poland and many other things.

OK, so this is all terribly geeky but it just isn’t true to say that because Apple is worth $500 billion and the GDP of Poland is $500 billion then Apple is worth the same as Poland.

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Posted: 29th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (16)

The Socialist Workers’ Party and workfare slavery beats the mighty beasts

THE Socialist Workers’ Party has a view on workfare slavery. It’s all been rather amusing this revolt against the government’s workfare plans.

The idea was, as you will recall, that those who had been unemployed for a long time should turn up and do a few shifts of simple work in return for their dole. This has been argued about for decades and was in fact started off under the Labour Government (called “Welfare to Work” and some variation of New Deal at different times). The idea is that people who have been unemployed for a long time lose some of the skills that make them employable. This bribe or threaten them back into some form of, any form of, work to allow them to regain those skills. We’re talking about things like getting there, washed and brushed, on time. Sober. Simple stuff.

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Posted: 28th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Rich people are not like the rest of us

ARE the rich like the rest of us? Britt Peterson compiles the evidence:

[A] number of new studies suggest that, in certain key ways, people with that much money are not like the rest of us at all. As a mounting body of research is showing, wealth can actually change how we think and behave—and not for the better. Rich people have a harder time connecting with others, showing less empathy to the extent of dehumanizing those who are different from them. They are less charitable and generous. They are less likely to help someone in trouble. And they are more likely to defend an unfair status quo. If you think you’d behave differently in their place, meanwhile, you’re probably wrong: These aren’t just inherited traits, but developed ones. Money, in other words, changes who you are.

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Posted: 23rd, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Don’t Sweat the Greek CDS

NOW that we can see what the Greek bond deal looks like we can now see that the Greek CDS contracts will almost certainly be triggered. These are those toxic waste derivatives which are going totally destroy western capitalism. Man.

Sadly for the conspiracists they’ll do absolutely no such thing for two reasons.

The first is that as the FT reports, there’s piss all of these contracts around.

The use of collective action clauses in Greek bonds, as part of the country’s sovereign restructuring, seems set to trigger credit default swaps. For the $3.2bn of net notional still outstanding on the contracts, it’s been a long road to a credit event.

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

Barnardo’s doesn’t get the point at all

THIS is a terribly amusing piece of nonsense from Barnardo’s: you know, the charity that gave up actually caring for downtrodden children to campaign for, umm, whatever it is this week. Or you could look at it as being terribly depressing, the realisation that supposedly intelligent people have entirely lost the plot.

Families need to spend £1,165 a year to adequately heat their homes, but people in the lowest 10 per cent of incomes are spending only £723, leaving homes cold and potentially damaging children’s health.

This “fuel gap” of £450 has more than doubled from £200 in 2004, Barnardo’s said.

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Posted: 21st, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

So what’s going to happen to Chinese manufacturing? There’s been a run on peasants

I KNOW, I know, all those jobs we packed up in boxes and shipped off to China. The Ruin of the North, as bad as anything Willie the Conq did a millennia ago and all due to this neo-liberal globalisation shite.

However, at some point this is all going to run out of steam, right? Something’s going to change? And yes, this is true, something is going to change, as this New York Times piece shows:

But while China’s industrial subsidies, trade policies, undervalued currency and lack of enforcement for intellectual property rights all remain sticking points for the United States, there is at least one area in which the playing field seems to be slowly leveling: the cheap labor that has made China’s factories nearly unbeatable is not so cheap anymore.

China has experienced sporadic labor shortages, which in turn have driven up its once rock-bottom labor costs.

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

Why Government costs so damn much

WHY does the Government cost so damn much? There’s no doubt about it, we’ve got to actually have government of some kind. 65 million people on one island in the North Sea really aren’t going to survive very long in anarchy. And if we’ve got to have government then we’ve got to have taxes to pay for it too.

But why does government have to cost so much and why do the taxes have to be so damn high?

But civil servants at one government department viewed the dilemma of opening the post as so serious, they ordered a taxpayer-funded inquiry to establish the best way to open envelopes.

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Posted: 17th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Government hires cheap labour for Tesco #tescogate

THE Tesco job advert (click on the image to enlarge) that’s been causing an outrage on Twitter and Facebook. The advert on the Government’s JobCentrePlus invites people to work for 37 hours for £67.

Every little person helps…Tesco’s.

Of course it might be Charles Dickens tribute or a chance for the poor to rent out their beds.

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Posted: 16th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

News just in: young people are stupid and into socialism

NEWS just in – young popels are stupid. Or if you prefer, young people are ignorant, unwise if we have to be really polite about it.

According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of millennials (age 18-29) view socialism in a favorable light, compared to 43 percent who view it unfavorably.

Moreover, millennials like the sound of socialism better than capitalism. 46 percent of millennials have positive views of capitalism, and 47 percent have negative views.

This is different from the country’s population overall: 60 percent say they have a negative view of socialism, versus 31 percent who say they have a positive view. Young people are the only age group whose support for socialism outweighs that of capitalism.

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Posted: 14th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Blitheringly stupid idea: eliminate VAT on home heating

I DO wonder sometimes whether anyone actually engages brain any more. For some of the ideas that get passed around are so amazingly stupid that I just cannot believe that people are suggesting them. Take this one today for example:

Value Added Tax (VAT) on household energy bills must be scrapped to prevent pensioners having to choose between heating and eating, campaigners and charities claim.

Dear Lord that’s appallingly stupid.

You’ll have noticed that we’re ever so slightly worried about this thing called climate change, yes? That we’re rigging the entire energy market so as to stop using fossil fuels? Piling the costs onto ‘leccie bills so that people arte forced to pay for renewebles?

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Posted: 13th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)

Lottery winners Matt Topham and Cassey Carrington are secretly miserable – says Daily Mail

MATT Topham and Cassey Carrington, both 22 and living together in Nottingham, won £45,169,170.50 on EuroMillions. The paper lead with the news that tax-free millions is not just for Vodafone and bankers:

Daily Star: “Whole Lotta love”  the pair plan to marry!


Daily Mirror: “We won £45 after two gores on Lotto”

Lucky so-and-sos.

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Posted: 10th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)

Europe gets united airforce – reach for the subsidies

THE European Union is to get its own airforce. Oh, Brave New World:

When European farmers turn their eyes skyward, they soon may have more than the weather to worry about. The more progressive aviation framework in Europe means that government monitors potentially have a new weapon in their arsenals–unmanned aerial drones–to enforce regulations, and they’re starting with agriculture. EU regulators are exploring potential aerial systems that can help them spot farm subsidy cheats and violators of Common Agricultural Policy rules.

…satellite images are unreliable. In some places, mountainous terrain makes for long shadows that obscure features on the ground. In places like Scotland, it’s overcast all the time.

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Posted: 9th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

I’m Female, Give Me Money! What Kerry Andrew wants

IT gets rather tedious seeing yet another person demanding that they be given the taxpayers’ money for some reason or other. Here we’ve a female composer named Kerry Andrew demanding that there should be more female composers on the curriculum.

We need, however, to address the inequality at the nub: those writing the curriculum, the National Music Plan, and teachers at all levels should make an effort to use examples of music by women in the classroom; to promote composition as a living, breathing, utterly unisex profession.

There would be no greater achievement for me and my female peers to see that we’ve inspired more girls to follow a similar path – but it’s down to educators, programmers and organisations to help.

Well, yes, but follow the money as always. For living composers get paid cold hard cash when their pieces are used in schools. And exams, on the curriculum. Being the capitalist bastard that I am I’ve nothing against people making money but this does seem a tad off: I’m female, the taxpayers should pay me.

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Posted: 9th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Companies clear cash from eurozone as Greece’s March 20 D-day nears

THE big crunch day on this Greek thing is March 20. That’s the day that they’ve got to pay back squiddely billions (erm, about £12 billion or so) of money they borrowed years ago.

Normally, governments don’t ever in fact pay back such money: what they do is issue new bonds to that amount, collect the money, then give it to the people with the old bonds. But there’s no one sane out there willing to buy more new Greek bonds, quite understandably, so they can’t do that.

So, they’ve got to agree a deal then borrow the money off the IMF and the EU so that they can pay these bonds back. Or, if they don’t make the deal, they can’t pay the bonds back and they’re in default. At which point half the European banking system starts looking very dodgy indeed and we get perhaps a replay of 2007/2008 all over again.

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Posted: 8th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Yup, we really should copy the Germans

IT’S one of those things in the air, you’ve noticed I hope? All these pieces floating around saying that as Germany has low unemployment then we should obviously be doing what Germany has done in order to have low unemployment.

And yes, seems fair enough really. Thing is, you’ve got to work out what it is that Germany has done before you can copy it. And it isn’t as simple as seeing that Germany has apprenticeships so we should, or that Germany has manufacturing, so we should have manufacturing. These are like noting that Germany speaks German so we should speak German.

The big influence upon unemployment is the price of labour. No, not wages paid, but wages paid as compared to what is produced with that labour. In the jargon of economics, the unit labour cost.

You can see from IMF data that the silent coup took place in the fat years of the global boom when Germany forced down unit labour costs; -1.7pc in 2003, -4.0pc in 2004, -3.3pc in 2005, -1.8pc in 2006.

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Posted: 6th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Well of course Economists cannot predict things – it’s rock, paper scissors with graphs

THERE’S a certain loigical problem floating around about what economists can and cannot do. This idea that if they’re all so smart then why can’t they predict what is going to happen? How did we end up with the financial crash if all those clever highly paid people couldn’t see it coming: or perhaps are these people clever and why are they highly paid because they didn’t see it coming?

And the answer there is actually that in most of the things that people want economists to predict economics itself insists that economics cannot predict them.

Oh, there’s some things that are easy enough. If you tax all of the money off all of the rich people then you’re not going to have any rich people and so you’ll not collect any tax. That sort of stuff is simple enough. But if you want to know what inflation is going to be next year, or the price of oil, or the level of the stock market, well, it’s only possible to make accurate predictions about these things as long as everbody doesn’t believe the prediction:

But one of the conclusions of economics is that prediction is literally impossible.  At least public prediction.  If I publicly announce a policy of inflation, to increase growth, and people believe me, then the inflation is anticipated and the real growth effects are just about zero.

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Posted: 6th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

RBS’s Disgraced Fred Goodwin was ‘risk’ adviser to the Queen

NICE little twist on the scourging of Fred “The Shred” Goodwin, former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland comes in Scotland on Sunday today.

It seems gagger Fred (super injunction on the fact he was bumping the uglies with a senior staff member, female, while helping preside over the collapse of his empire) was an adviser to the Queen AND Prince Charles long after he was forced to resign when the UK government took over 80 per cent of the RBS. The full tale is there if you follow the link above.

The in-joke is he was an adviser on risk management…the one thing analysts of the RBS banking disaster say was the bank’s worst failure..risk recognition. It was alleged at a Treasury meeting, as the banking situation reached crisis point, the then Sir Fred was locked out of the meeting on what to do because he had no idea how much money was urgently needed to stop his bank foundering.

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Posted: 5th, February 2012 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment

Rinehart V Rinehart: World’s richest woman fights children in court

GINA Rinehart is Australia’s richest woman. She is richer than Dame Edna and has her own indoor dunny. Rinehart is a billionaire iron ore magnate (worth: £13.5 billion and predicted to rise very fast – she may yet soon be the world’s richest person) whose daughter Hope Rinehart Welker, 26, emails that she is “down to my last $60,000”. She needs help. For a “birthday present” Hope wants a cook, housekeeper and security guard. No, not Lego ones. Actual people.

Hope Rinehart Welker lives in the US with her husband Ryan Welker and their daughters. She’s 26. She told her mother:

“I need a few things for my birthday (cook so you can be sure April [her daughter] is fed right, bodyguard so the kids are safe and housekeeper that is good w kids so if I need to go out I can … I would buy them myself but I’m down to my last $60,000 and your (sic) only paying my husband $1 a year …”

Hope calculates that the cook cost up to $225,000 a year, a bodyguard $100,000 and a housekeeper $55,000.

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Posted: 3rd, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Saving taxes at the student loan company the David Miliband way – with Ed Lester

HOW to save tax at the Student Loan Company… This does all look rather odd but I’m afraid that the investigation doesn’t actually understand the way that tax works.

The Treasury has asked Whitehall to review all the tax affairs of top civil servants after it emerged that the head of the Student Loans Company (SLC) is paid via a company without tax being deducted.

The SLC’s chief executive Ed Lester has his £182,000 salary paid gross to his private service company, potentially saving him tens of thousands of pounds in tax.

As I say, that’s an odd way to do it. But this is wrong:

The payment method allows Lester to pay corporation tax of 21%, rather than up to 50% income tax on his earnings.

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

Oh woes, the UK doesn’t make anything any more! Good – we’re winning

THE UK does not make anything any more. This isn’t, in fact, quite true. UK manufacturing output peaked in 2005: yes, really, manufacturing output was higher whan Maggie left office than when she entered, when Major left office than he entered.

What has fallen is manufacturing employment and this is a good thing. It’s happening because of rising productivity: we can now make more things with less labour.

So, what then happens? Well, that labour is then free to go off and do other things. This makes us richer because we now have both the manufacturing and whatever it is that is created by that newly freed labour.

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Posted: 1st, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

The top ten earning degrees are…

WANT to know which University degrees pay the best salaries? Well, the New York Times looked at US census data. It focused on the 1% and what they studied at university.

Law wins big. One lawyer in eight makes it to the 1% – its 1 in three if they work on Wall Street firm.

And then there was art history. Who knew that art historians earned such big money? Well, most likely their mums and dads did – the minted f**kers whose wealth enabled their progeny to look at old pictures for three years.

The top earning degrees are:

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

10 ways for Fred Goodwin to get his knighthood back

WHY did Sir Fred Goodwin have his knighthood removed? Was it for being greedy and doing anything to make money and get rich? Was Sir Fred Goodwin stripped of his knightood for the same reason he got it in the first place? And how did the Queen feel when she stripped him of it – this being the leader of the Royal Family who pays no inheritance tax?

As for Fred, well, he can get his knighthood back if he does one of the following – that is if being richer than most of us and not having to work ever again is not reward enough:

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Posted: 1st, February 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Situations vacant – Australia council hires new Brother Buster to shag prostitutes

WHO fancies earning $70k annually to “partake of sexual services” at brothels in New South Wales, Australia?

Lyonswood Investigations and Forensic Group in Sydney is advertising for a “Brothel Buster Investigator”.

Says Lyonswood operations manager Lachlan Jarvis:

“Some [jobs] require the offering of sexual services, some actually require the partaking of sexual services … because it is considered the most convincing evidence,” he said. Lyonswood, which is based in the Sydney suburb of Drummoyne, conducts about 10 to 20 brothel investigations each year, and the job often puts investigators in situations most people only see in movies. 

“We have a filing cabinet of cases that would blow you away.”


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Posted: 1st, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment