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How Very Generous of Us

"Using pejorative terms like "handouts" and "doling out", some parts of the media are mounting a campaign to suggest Britain should be embarrassed by our level of aid giving. But the idea that aid is generous is absurd. Some families, inspired by religious tradition, think it is appropriate to give 10% of what they have to charity, £10 in every £100 of earnings. In 2010, the UK gave not £10, not £1, but 56p ($0.91) in overseas aid for every £100 ($163) we earned as a country. On average, since 1990 we have given even less, 35p ($0.57)." [Giving aid to poor countries is hardly a great act of generosity] [more inside]
posted by vidur on Jun 14, 2011 - 59 comments

 

Outliers

The World Top Incomes Database (click on "Graphics" and select countries, years and other variables) (via)
posted by vidur on Jun 7, 2011 - 5 comments

20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know

20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know
posted by ennui.bz on Jun 3, 2011 - 49 comments

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
posted by reenum on May 9, 2011 - 42 comments

Iowa loophole voids mortgage

Matt and Jamie Danielson, with the aid of their bankruptcy attorney, were able to use a little known loophole in the Iowa law to void their mortgage and own their house outright after making just one payment. However, further investigation has uncovered some unsavory events in the couple's past.
posted by reenum on Apr 21, 2011 - 60 comments

Renting a read from 'newspaper landlords'

The poor in Ethiopia are often unable to buy newspapers, so they 'rent' papers for 20-30 minutes at a time from local entrepreneurs.
posted by reenum on Apr 20, 2011 - 26 comments

China's Ghost Cities

China's Ghost Cities (via)
posted by nam3d on Mar 30, 2011 - 48 comments

Poverty pr0n

Hiding the Real Africa [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 18, 2011 - 23 comments

The answer to everything in Dubai is money

"The plan was money. The architect was money. The designer was money and the builder was money. And if you ever wondered what money would look like if it were left to its own devices, it's Dubai."
posted by vidur on Mar 13, 2011 - 69 comments

So therefore, OPEC felt justified in raising the price of oil. To 45 dollars a barrel. At the height of the commodities boom, oil was trading for three times that amount.

Why Gas Is So Expensive Today (Hint: It’s Not Libya) A long but enthralling proposal that current gas prices have nothing to do with supply and demand, but are instead due primarily to rampant unchecked commodities speculation ("unchecked" because it had been granted special exemption from the clearly-defined checks). Quotes heavily from this article and this book. (found via Hacker News)
posted by luvcraft on Mar 12, 2011 - 194 comments

These are all Industrial Age economic models, and we are no longer in an Industrial Age.

"New Economy, New Wealth - We are entering a post-industrial age with a very different economy and needs for a different view of wealth. What does this mean for us?" A presentation by Arthur Brock, using Prezi (previously). I recommend viewing it full-screen.
posted by baejoseph on Mar 3, 2011 - 19 comments

Offshore Banking Business

"People have always thought of tax havens as sideshows to the main event, whereas in fact they are central to the global economy". . . Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World [more inside]
posted by Mister Bijou on Mar 3, 2011 - 48 comments

"This tower is a perfect example of anarchy."

Squatters on the Skyline: "Facing a mounting housing shortage, squatters have transformed an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Caracas into a makeshift home for more than 2,500 people." [SLNYTVP]
posted by bayani on Feb 28, 2011 - 27 comments

You wait until wheels-up, because that's what you do

"Meanwhile, Important Politician stretches out in his business class seat and listens to his wife talk about the pearls! And the silk scarves! And the amazing food! And IP thinks back to that Foreign Service Officer he just met. And he thinks: what a great life that guy has! He goes to parties at the President's mansion. He drinks fancy wine. He drives around in air conditioned motorcades, with people saluting him as he walks into government buildings. He goes hiking - in the middle of a work day, even! - on the Great Wall. What a cushy life he leads, thinks Important Politician." A proposed pay cut is not going down well with some Foreign Service Officers.
posted by vidur on Feb 26, 2011 - 13 comments

The REAL Death of the Music Industry

In his analysis The REAL Death of the Music Industry, BI author Michael DeGusta denounces inaccuracies in a recently circulating chart (source). A further analysis of the situation is provided: the music industry is actually doing much worse than the Bain chart implies. [more inside]
posted by knz on Feb 20, 2011 - 79 comments

A Darker Shade of Golden

As California goes, so goes the country, they used to say. Well, yikes. Golden State, an n+1 piece by Nikil Saval, presents a bleak picture of paralysis and conflicted interests that has rendered "The Bellwether State" all but inoperable. (via Arts & Letters Daily)
posted by Trochanter on Feb 13, 2011 - 97 comments

A Progressivel Tea Party

"Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by a Tea Party of a very different kind.... The name of this parallel universe is Britain." The UK's Progressive Tea Party.
posted by wittgenstein on Feb 9, 2011 - 25 comments

The Dead Weight of Debt

"The World", an ambitious real estate project conceived at the height of the real estate boom, is sinking back into the sea.
[more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 28, 2011 - 34 comments

The 25-Year 'Foreclosure From Hell'

Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2010 - 150 comments

We don't want to read about the poors

There is a firestorm in Bedford, New Hampshire, because a parent wants the school board to take the book "Nickel and Dimed: Not Getting By In America" off the reading list for a high school personal finance class. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 14, 2010 - 131 comments

How Caviar Turned Out To Be Halal

A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
posted by reenum on Dec 9, 2010 - 26 comments

Beyond the scary Christmas list

The cost of raising a child from cradle to 18 has risen to $222,000. Chiefly among the reasons is parents' desire to "cultivate" their children.
posted by reenum on Dec 6, 2010 - 122 comments

Bargain Junkies Are Beating Retailers at Their Own Game

A new brand of super shoppers use coupons and other discounts to get products for absurdly low prices. The Web has turned this group from a series of independent operators into cohesive groups, frustrating retailers.
posted by reenum on Dec 3, 2010 - 126 comments

Good-bye to Dubai

The once shining beacon of capitalism in the Persian Gulf has lost a lot of its luster since the global financial crisis in 2008. But is it too soon to declare Dubai dead? [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 30, 2010 - 43 comments

Bingo In The Blood

The NY Times explores the darker side of bingo.
posted by reenum on Nov 28, 2010 - 46 comments

What Good is Wall Street?

What Good is Wall Street? Think of all the profits produced by businesses operating in the U.S. as a cake. Twenty-five years ago, the slice taken by financial firms was about a seventh of the whole. Last year, it was more than a quarter. (In 2006, at the peak of the boom, it was about a third.) In other words, during a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot, and Lipitor, the best place to work has been in an industry that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing.
posted by shivohum on Nov 22, 2010 - 102 comments

What $200,000 in Student Debt Looks Like

Kelli went to Northeastern University and got loans to pay for her sociology degree. Her repayment schedule is featured in the article and it is not pretty. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 22, 2010 - 261 comments

You would like us to tighten our belts. Instead, tighten your belts--or leave.

The Soviet Collapse "The document which effectively concluded the history of the Soviet Union was a letter from the Vneshekonombank in November 1991 to the Soviet leadership, informing them that the Soviet state had not a cent in its coffers."
posted by bitmage on Nov 19, 2010 - 28 comments

Quantitative Easing

One day after midterm elections in the U.S., Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announces the nation's plans to purchase $600 billion in Treasuries. NPR takes Bernanke's announcement and attempts to "translate it into plain English." [more inside]
posted by The ____ of Justice on Nov 6, 2010 - 85 comments

UK Spending Review

The Chancellor of the UK coalition government has announced the details of the Comprehensive Spending Review, setting budgets for government departments to 2014/15. Total savings will be £18 billion. Local government funding will be cut 7% each year for the next four years. The Arts Council budget will be cut by 30%. 490,000 jobs are forecast to be lost over the period in the public sector. The average cuts for each government department will be 19%. The speech. HM Treasury Spending Review pages. Guardian summary. Independent article. Nick Robinson's blog for the BBC. Make your own cuts with the Guardian's interactive tool. Graphic showing 09/10 government spending (that is, before the cuts).
posted by paduasoy on Oct 20, 2010 - 91 comments

Making big businesses smaller via definition

If a car dealership makes less than $30 million per year or has less than 200 employees - help is on the way!
posted by Brent Parker on Oct 13, 2010 - 12 comments

There's Always Steady Work for the Steady Worker

Don't Make Excuses - Make Good! Between World Wars I and II, the U.S. economy was booming - workers had choices and employers competed for their time. How to motivate and gain loyalty from a labor force that knew it could walk out the door and find more work soon? Charles Mather, head of a family printing business in Chicago, offered employers a solution: the first motivational posters for the private workplace market. Printed between 1923 and 1929, Mather's "Work Incentive Posters" used strong imagery and short, clear messaging to encourage workplace values like teamwork, punctuality, safety, and loyalty. Today, some of his 350 designs can be seen in traveling exhibitions and poster galleries, and Antiques Road Show - or you can soak up some motivation from his modern-day successors at Successories - or generate your own. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Oct 12, 2010 - 25 comments

The Fire Department is not a right; it is a privilege

"Anybody that's not in the city of South Fulton, it's a service we offer, either they accept it or they don't." In Obion County, Tennessee, the services of the South Fulton Fire Department are provided only to those customers who wish to pay their $75 annual fee. If you don't feel like subscribing, and your house catches fire, the firefighters will at least keep you company as you watch it burn to the ground.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Oct 4, 2010 - 375 comments

Why is income inequality growing?

Over at Slate magazine, Timothy Noah is doing a multi-part examination of America's growing income gap. The Great Divergence.
posted by Trochanter on Sep 17, 2010 - 6 comments

Economy

How to End the Great Recession. Robert Reich's prescription for the economy.
posted by semmi on Sep 3, 2010 - 53 comments

He's not Haggard, though the economy is

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to understand the driving forces behind our economic collapse. When listening to the latest Planet Money podcast, do you find yourself yearning for something a bit more toe-tappin'? Meet Merle Hazard. "He is the first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics."
posted by mkultra on Aug 24, 2010 - 8 comments

Why yes, the wording & paperwork matter. A lot.

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles--and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Aug 20, 2010 - 54 comments

I pay, you pay, we pay

How to be frugal and still be asked on dates Though saving and overall frugality are making a comeback in all areas of life, dating remains the one area where it is (probably) not acceptable to be cheap.
posted by The1andonly on Aug 20, 2010 - 42 comments

"This is just the beginning."

China is now the world's second-largest economy.
posted by knave on Aug 16, 2010 - 70 comments

High frequency trading crop circles

High frequency trading crop circles. Automated trading is flooding stock exchanges with nonsensical orders making odd patterns like The Knife at millisecond scales. Bugs, emergent phenomena, or market jamming strategies? No one seems to know.
posted by Nelson on Aug 7, 2010 - 108 comments

I See I.P. Funky Colors

Hale "Bonddad" Stewart shows that U.S. Manufacturing is NOT Dead, but says that to zombify resurrect rejuvenate it America should look into Industrial Policy. Meanwhile, in Detroit, a President is saying that the automobile industry bailout prompted an "industrial revival", a Senator is calling it "industrial policy" and an economist is saying even if it is, "it's the most successful...in American history". All of which prompts the age-old question.... [more inside]
posted by Chipmazing on Aug 6, 2010 - 53 comments

Desperation

99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation. 'In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.' While the Senate ponders a debate on tax cuts for the rich, jobless claims hit highest level since April. With such unemployment, frustration and despair grow as job searches drag on. 'In her well-thumbed, leather-bound Bible, Terri Sadler recently highlighted in bright pink a passage in the Gospel of Matthew. In it, Jesus urges his followers not to “worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” But Ms. Sadler’s tightening throat and halting breath when she tries to read the words aloud make it clear that she is having trouble mustering enough faith to follow them.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Aug 5, 2010 - 82 comments

America Doesn't Have Social Classes

"[Bank robber Peter Barry] Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap... he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later. But that was all part of the plan." And an embedded reporter in Afghanistan notes that "many young soldiers told me that they actually live better in the army, even when deployed, than they did in civilian life, where they couldn't make ends meet, especially when they were trying to pay for college or raise a family by working one or two low-wage jobs" (p. 1). Meanwhile, "parents of means are now resorting to buying franchise businesses to keep their adult children employed." Economic life in contemporary America.
posted by rkent on Aug 3, 2010 - 48 comments

The Future American Job

These folks in rural Arkansas and Missouri are getting jobs that are often reported as going to India and other countries. Is this a sign of American ingenuity or decline?
posted by ziadbc on Jul 12, 2010 - 42 comments

Ruin Britannia

Britain Is Puzzled by Its Inflation Problem in a Downturn. Inflation in Britain is an economic mystery. It seems unique in the Western World which on the whole is closer to the dangers of deflation than inflation. April of this year was particularly bad - in an inflation spike that alarmed Britain, 'British price inflation including housing costs hit a 20-year high of 5.3% in April, sending shockwaves through an economy still struggling to exit recession'. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jul 6, 2010 - 48 comments

Diary of a Very Bad Year

Keith Gessen of n+1 Magazine interviewed an anonymous hedge fund manager. [Previously]. HFM provided many more insights than were published back in 2008. [more inside]
posted by ob1quixote on Jun 28, 2010 - 11 comments

Marijuana Panic

Plummeting Marijuana prices cause panic in CA. In 1983, the Reagan administration launched a massive air and ground campaign to eradicate pot and lock up growers in northern California. Charley Custer, a writer and community activist, had just arrived to Humboldt County from Chicago. With the Reagan crackdown, Custer recalls, wholesale prices shot up — to as high as $5,000 a pound. That sudden and ironic windfall for those growers willing to risk prison time transformed the community.... Prices are now much less than $2,000 a pound, according to interviews with more than a dozen growers and dealers. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman says some growers can't get rid of their processed pot at any price.
posted by caddis on May 17, 2010 - 106 comments

Dead.

Requiem for Detroit? - Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani on May 7, 2010 - 58 comments

Automated Trading Suspected in Stock Market Crash

Major market indices fell almost 10% this afternoon before recovering half of that value. Some blame the failing Greek economy and the related loss of confidence in the Eurozone. But a lot of attention is being paid to the role of automated trading systems. Accenture's stock, for example, dropped from $41 to one penny in two minutes and then recovered just as quickly. Will this trigger a loss of confidence in automated trading?
posted by spitefulcrow on May 6, 2010 - 162 comments

Someone should give him a gas mask

Proposed austerity measures in response to Greece's economic crisis have led to riots and three deaths . However, this isn't the first time that riots have shaken Greece in response to the economic turmoil. One dog has seen them all.
posted by emilyd22222 on May 6, 2010 - 64 comments

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