In superheated London, where stratospheric land values beget accordingly bloated developments – authorities are allowing planning policies to be continually flouted, affordable housing quotas to be waived, height limits breached, the interests of residents endlessly trampled. Places are becoming ever meaner and more divided, as public assets are relentlessly sold off, entire council estates flattened to make room for silos of luxury safe-deposit boxes in the sky. We are replacing homes with investment units, to be sold overseas and never inhabited, substituting community for vacancy. The more we build, the more our cities are emptied, producing dead swathes of zombie town where the lights might never even be switched on.
's architecture and design critic Oliver Wainright
discusses housing development policy in London and the new city it is ushering in. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim
on Sep 17, 2014 -
Rabbi Myer Kripke, of Omaha, dies at 100. The New York Times obituary
tells the story of the Kripkes and a couple they played bridge with and became friends with, Susan and Warren Buffett. In 1966, they approached Buffett to manage their savings, and they wound up making $25 million, all of which they gave away.
piece also devotes a half a sentence to Rabbi Kripke's son, "Saul Kripke, a Princeton scholar who has been called the world’s greatest living philosopher" (cynics should note that Saul Kripke shot to prominence before his parents were rich).
posted by grobstein
on May 5, 2014 -
In 1820 Gregor MacGregor, chieftain of the Central American principality of Poyais arrived in London and explained his problem: his principality had a fine climate, friendly natives, and a democratic government, but it needed investors and settlers to help develop it and exploit its abundant natural resources. To this end his government was to issue a £200,000 bond which would pay off at a generous 6%, as well as land rights for a modest 3 shillings an acre. MacGregor would eventually raise funds worth £3.2 billion -at today's prices- for the entirely fictional principality; this makes him arguably the most successful con-men of all time
. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo
on Dec 31, 2012 -
Are Social Impact Bonds a good way to invest in public services?
"Imagine a contract where private investors are paid by the government if there's a decrease in homelessness or convicts re-offending. It's a an idea that's taking shape in the UK and some US states. And now the Canadian government is considering piloting social impact bonds. Critics say it's a way of governments shirking their responsibilities." CBC's "The Current" reports. [more inside]
posted by flex
on Nov 20, 2012 -
Beating the system:
The Boston Globe reports how a group of MIT students beat the Massachusetts state lottery by working out that you were almost guaranteed to get a return on the game Cash Win Fall at certain times, and only buying tickets at that point. It's reckoned that they made $48m on a $40m stake over several years, that other syndicates were also involved, and the state 'bent and broke' the rules by allowing them to buy tickets in bulk. The game was closed down after the Globe started to investigate. [more inside]
posted by DanCall
on Aug 8, 2012 -
Why Africa is leaving Europe behind: Africans are relishing something of a reversal in roles. The former colonial powers in Europe are wrestling with debt crises, austerity budgets, rising unemployment and social turmoil. By contrast much of sub-Saharan Africa can point to robust growth, better balanced books and rising capital inflows. There is an opportunity in this novel scenario: for Africa to assert itself on the global stage, and for European countries to take advantage of their historic footprint in Africa by stimulating commercial expansion to their south. But it is far from clear either side will grasp it. Recently.
posted by infini
on Aug 21, 2011 -
A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1
, Part 2
), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful
at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
posted by Jonathan Harford
on Dec 2, 2010 -
A Glimpse of the World
All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed
-- all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China, whose appetite for commodities
. Do China's grand designs promise the transformation, at last, of a star-crossed continent? Or merely its exploitation? The author
travels deep into the heart of Africa, searching for answers. [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 26, 2010 -
launched in August of 2006. You get the chance to buy $10 shares in a band and when they reach $50,000 they get to record an album - it was met with cynicism
in some quarters. Ten months later six bands have reached the $50,000 mark and the first two
albums are available [Dutch nu-metallers Nemesea
& Hawaiian singer-songwriter Cubworld
] with four
other artists about to enter the studio - Second Person
from the UK, Clemence
from France, Lily
from the US and Maitreya
from New Zealand.
posted by meech
on Jun 26, 2007 -
is the handy guide for Internet startup entrepreneurs to use to calculate their next investment round. If you've recently raised money for your startup, how do you plan to use it? If you're working for a startup, better hope Matt Marshall
doesn't tag you with the dreaded bubble
posted by gen
on Jan 7, 2007 -
Big Business As Usual.
"In announcing their record settlement with 10 Wall Street firms
accused of misleading investors with bogus recommendations, [the Securities and Exchange Commission] also released new e-mail records showing stock experts chortling about how they were making out like bandits at the expense of the average investor", and revealed troubling insights into the way Wall Street really works:
"Merrill Lynch initiated coverage of LFMN on September 28, 2000 with a 2-1 [10-20% appreciation forecast short term, 20% appreciation forecast long term], when LFMN traded at $22.69. At that time, Merrill Lynch was pursuing an investment banking relationship with LFMN.
After Merrill Lynch initiated research coverage, LFMN's price declined to the....$3-5 range in December. On December 4, 2000, Blodget e-mailed a fellow analyst,'LFMN at $4. I can't believe what a POS [piece of shit] that thing is. Shame on me/us for giving them any benefit of doubt.' Merrill Lynch's research report on LFMN dated December 21, 2000, [reiterates] a 2-1 rating..."
And the "record settlement" with these common swindlers in three piece business suits from our brave SEC? For Wall Street, Fines Are A Day's Pay.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on May 7, 2003 -
Sunday's Investment Tip: Snark Inc.
This wasn't the sort of snark
I was looking for but it's too amusing to pass over. Worth singling out: the Globalization
game; the Snark
commercials (this last one good enough to go legit, imho
); the Corporate Culture
documentary and the Careers
questionnaire. All in all, healthy anti-capitalist fun for the whole family! [Click on "View"; Flash required.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jul 14, 2002 -
Scientists will tell you that Hydrogen is the most common element in all of nature.
Me, I think the scientists have it all wrong. I think the universe is really made out of irony
posted by BentPenguin
on Mar 12, 2002 -
Fake profits are causing the stock market to descend. Could someone explain to me the meaningful difference between Enron and Amazon.com?
One company recently reported fake profits of $5 million, while having billions in debt. Enron, well...no profits either, and billions in debt. So why is Amazon.com considered "promising"? Enron had a revenue stream too.... Prediction: Amazon.com's stock will be "revalued" sharply lower as people get lucid about real profits and as the accounting/profit scandals spread.
posted by ParisParamus
on Feb 4, 2002 -
The Catch with Wells Fargo's Share Builder
Some of you may have seen Wells Fargo's ads touting $4 per transaction and unlimited transactions for $12. The main catch is that you cannot trade every day. From their FAQ- "ShareBuilder trades can be made the first, second, third or fourth Tuesday of each month. You select which day you would like your trade to take place when setting up your ShareBuilder Plan. In the event of a month with five Tuesdays, no ShareBuilder trades will take place on the fifth Tuesday."
When the rest of the world is going to real-time trading, why do you think Wells Fargo is pushing this? Do you think it is deceptive that this is not mentioned up-front?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy
on Dec 12, 2001 -
Nader Responds to Accusations of Hypocrisy
“I will fight for the U’wa and investor accountability by backing a shareholder resolution at the next Annual General Meeting of Fidelity Investments–one of the largest shareholders in Occidental Petroleum and I urge social and environmental screens as a filter for all holdings."
posted by snakey
on Nov 3, 2000 -
"I wasn't doing anything wrong..."
So says Jonathan Lebed, the 16-year-old who paid out $285,000 to the SEC to settle his pump-and-dump case. His father agrees: "He earned it. He did a lot of work. He didn't sit behind a garage smoking pot, or stealing wheels off a car." Yeah, right: after all, he bought his parents a Mercedes with the profits of his stock manipulation.
posted by holgate
on Oct 22, 2000 -
It seems to me that this kid
is only getting in trouble because a bunch of people are sore losers. Aside from the legal trappings that they used to frame him, don't you think that people stupid enough to take financial advice via postings on Yahoo (or other sites) shouldn't whine when they turn out to be bogus? thoughts?
posted by ooklah
on Sep 22, 2000 -