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The Place for Royalty and The Right Sort of Young

When Mark Birley died at the age of 77 he left behind a legacy of London nightclubs for the aristocratic set ...and a highly contested $200 million dollar estate with last second will changes, phony ex-girlfriends, and feuding children. Maureen Orth explores the family life of the nightlife king.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 12, 2014 - 10 comments

Why Poor People Stay Poor

Saving money costs money. Period.
posted by beukeboom on Dec 7, 2014 - 179 comments

Here's a box of chocolates; it is your duty to eat them.

People like order in their lives. This does not go down well with those who feel that social restraints of any sort are a bad thing, but these people are a distinct, if very noisy, minority. Most of us want social rules of some sort – not oppressive ones, of course – but rules that govern the way we conduct ourselves towards others. We want people to queue correctly.

We like it when people don’t chew with their mouth open. We love it – although we may be cowed into not saying this – when an able-bodied person gives up a seat to somebody who is clearly frailer. Personally, I like it when anybody gives up a seat on a train to anybody else, frail or not. (Novelist Alexander McCall Smith discusses Jane Austen's Emma in The Daily Mail.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 11, 2014 - 35 comments

"Limitless wealth was a craft project."

The Great Paper Caper: Wells Tower (previously) reports on how one guy in Canada, Frank Bourassa, manufactured over $200 million in counterfeit U.S. twenty-dollar bills and more-or-less got away with it.
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 28, 2014 - 21 comments

Geometric Lathes!

A demonstration of several geometric lathes, which produced anti-counterfeiting patterns for banknotes, plus a reducing lathe to make coin and medal dies. (SLYT)
posted by Small Dollar on Oct 24, 2014 - 16 comments

f-bombs for feminism?

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism (YouTube; NSFW), FCKH8's new video campaign, has gone viral - attracting both praise & criticism. FCKH8's campaigns have sparked similar mixed reactions before. [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 23, 2014 - 32 comments

Buy now, pay forever

Continuing the exposure of how "being poor is expensive," the Washington Post takes a look at rent-to-own purchases in its article, Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa. [more inside]
posted by fireoyster on Oct 17, 2014 - 116 comments

The rise of Direct to Consumer advertising of perscription drugs

There are various changes that come with the greying of the traditional television audience, including the kinds of ads being aired, as the median age of a broadcast or cable television viewer is increasing faster than the median age of the US population at large. Older people are treated to a litany of drug ads, filled with lists of horrifying side effects, thanks to the ability for drug companies to market directly to customers. The rise in such advertising is now the most prominent type of health communication that the public encounters, but it hasn't always been the case.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 10, 2014 - 41 comments

Norway's new bank notes

Norway, which is not part of the Euro currency cooperation, has new design for its bank notes. Whereas the older note design from the 90s featured prominent Norwegians, the theme for the new currency is the ocean. One side features a pixelated motif from design giants Snøhetta, and the other side features detailed nautical images designed by The Metric System. Visual News has some coverage here, and you can look through all the submissions, including the discarded ones, in a Norwegian language PDF from Bank of Norway here. The winning design will be worked over slightly to incorporate security features, and the new bills will be in circulation from 2017.
posted by Harald74 on Oct 9, 2014 - 30 comments

sex work: fantasies as commodities, consent, and emotional labor

"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 6, 2014 - 127 comments

MacWHAAAAAAT?????

"What a bizarre day. I'm sitting here watching my email fill up with message after message from people from so many different times and places of my life, all congratulating me for the astonishing good fortune of receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Not to mention a flurry of texts and tweets, and I haven't had the energy to even look at Facebook." Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist Alison Bechdel (previously on MetaFilter: 1, 2, 3, 4) has won the prestigious MacArthur Genuis grant, giving her the opportunity to dig into her archives for a previous comic she drew in 2004 to conclude her reaction blog post. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 24, 2014 - 32 comments

The Social Construction of Money (Wealth/Capital in the 21st Century)*

The political economy of a universal basic income: "your view of what is feasible should not be backwards looking. The normalization of gay marriage and legalization of marijuana seemed utopian and politically impossible until very recently. Yet in fact those developments are happening, and their expansion is almost inevitable given the demographics of ideology... UBI — defined precisely as periodic transfers of identical fixed dollar amounts to all citizens of the polity — is by far the most probable and politically achievable among policies that might effectively address problems of inequality, socioeconomic fragmentation, and economic stagnation." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 19, 2014 - 62 comments

keeping up with the Joneses

give me gratitude or give me debt [more inside]
posted by flex on Sep 1, 2014 - 45 comments

No Fruit From Labor

When Restaurant Workers Can't Afford To Eat
posted by The Whelk on Sep 1, 2014 - 65 comments

"And I’m going to keep doing it, unless you pay me to stop."

Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."

posted by Fizz on Aug 27, 2014 - 548 comments

Sometimes, life is like a box of cacao products

"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
posted by reenum on Aug 16, 2014 - 31 comments

"— a fixer who knew just what to do."

PAPER BOYS: The Dark World of Debt Collection [New York Times] In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.
posted by Fizz on Aug 15, 2014 - 16 comments

There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash

The fraught business of making fake money for movies and TV.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 6, 2014 - 26 comments

We Deserve Better Dressed Billionaires

"You're a rich white man. You're used to being listened to. But while you're jabbering away, all anyone can see is your garbage shirt that you bought for twenty bucks and have been wearing all year, shoved nastily into your shiny off-the-rack suit. Why would you do this to your brand?" - Shirterate, a clothing consultation service for tech moguls by opinionated homosexuals.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 10, 2014 - 75 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

What The Poor Deserve

"When our donors met the actual people they were helping they often didn’t like them. During our Secret Santa drive, volunteers sometimes refused to drop gifts at houses with TVs inside. They got angry when clients had cell phones or in some other way didn’t match their expectations. Other times, the donations we got were too disgusting to pass along—soup cans that bulged with botulism and diapers so dry rotted they crumbled in our hands. One Thanksgiving, a board member called from the parking lot, requesting help carrying a frozen turkey from her trunk to our office. “Can you find a deserving family?” she asked. I lugged the bird up three flights of stairs. Somewhere near the top, I noticed the expiration date. It was seventeen years old." Anya Groner talks about working for Hudson Outreach in up-state New York and the sobering, chilling effect it had on her idealism.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2014 - 95 comments

an overconfident autodidact’s imitation of a Lewis Lapham essay

“Moldbug.” The name sounds like it belongs to a troll who belches from the depths of an Internet rabbit hole. And so it does. (SLTheBaffler) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 1, 2014 - 67 comments

Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.

Greenhouse is a browser app for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari that allows you to mouse over any Congressperson's name in your browser to reveal where their campaign money comes from. [more inside]
posted by sockermom on Jun 24, 2014 - 23 comments

Financial Friend-Fiction?

How much do Belchers of "Bob's Burgers" actually pay in rent?
posted by The Whelk on Jun 23, 2014 - 67 comments

...for everyone who contributed too much to MeFi and ran out of money

Poorcraft is on the Web. The acclaimed comic book guide to "living well on less", written by C. Spike "Templar, Arizona" Trotman* and drawn by Diana "Intrepid Girlbot" Nook, after two years in print, is getting a second life as a free webcomic**, publishing a page a day for the next five months. So don't declare insolvency until you've gotten all the moneysaving tips! Recommended by notable MeFites. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on May 27, 2014 - 28 comments

WHY CAN'T BANDS WITH UNLIMITED RESOURCES MAKE GOOD ALBUMS?

When the band announced they’d be getting back together in 2000 after a three-year hiatus, people were understandably excited. Here was a band with a cannon of music that included everything from “Say It Ain’t So” to “El Scorcho” getting ready to unleash a new set of works on the world, the way we all wished J.D. Salinger would. Then “The Green Album” came out and although it featured Mikey Welsh instead of Matt Sharp, everything from the artwork to the use of producer Ric Ocasek seemed to indicate a return to form for the celebrated geek rock act. Except it wasn’t. I’d like to think that even the most strident Weezer supporters would admit that a song like “Hash Pipe” would never have fit on the first two albums, not because Cuomo had vastly evolved as a songwriter, but because it completely lacked the spark and character that typified the band’s earlier works. In fact, Weezer reportedly wrote 75 songs for this album yet this was the best collection they could come up with.
posted by josher71 on May 22, 2014 - 73 comments

Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any, uh… wool?

The Age of Uncertainty, A Personal View by John Kenneth Galbraith was a 12 (or 15) part documentary mini-series about the fickle art of economics, co-produced by the BBC, CBC, KCET & OECA, and broadcast on television in 1977. Galbraith’s dry Scottish Canadian wit, and the 70’s-style art-direction, are worth viewing for those who like this sort of thing. The parody corporate videos for the Conglomerate UGE anticipated some of the ideas explored later in the 2003 documentary The Corporation. Some parts will seem dated, considering that this series was produced in the thick of The Cold War, before the rise of Reaganomics, Thatcherism, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the EU, yuan, electronic transfers, etc. The basic insights about the instability of financial markets are still real, as always. [more inside]
posted by ovvl on May 19, 2014 - 5 comments

The Last Shot, 20 Years On

Amos Barshad of Grantland talks to Darcy Frey and the basketball players featured in the classic book The Last Shot 20 years after the book's release.
posted by reenum on May 15, 2014 - 1 comment

“Myer, invest the money with your friend Warren.”

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. The Times 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 - 19 comments

Mayday, Mayday, democracy in danger . . .

The Mayday SuperPAC. Yesterday Lawrence Lessig announced the launch of the Mayday SuperPAC, "The SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs." Its ultimate goal is to achieve constitutional campaign finance reform. They've set out specific funding goals--$1 million in 30 days, $5 million in the next 30--which will be matched by Lessig and other (currently) anonymous funders once achieved. Their initial goal is to influence races in five House districts and if successful they hope to expand in 2016.
posted by schroedinger on May 2, 2014 - 94 comments

“So… do you… do you suppose we should… talk about money?”

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 51 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Affluence and Influence

Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no? Alas, no... (pdf)
posted by anazgnos on Apr 12, 2014 - 34 comments

For Richer Or Poorer

Ask Polly: Will Our Class Differences Tear Us Apart?
I've been with my current boyfriend for three years. We're really great together—similar interests, senses of humor, great sex. I love him so much—the only issue is that of our respective backgrounds. He grew up in a tony suburb, went to prep school, then to a very prestigious college, and finally the very prestigious graduate school where we met. I went to public school in a bad neighborhood, put myself through a not-so-prestigious college, made a name for myself in my field, then got into that same prestigious grad school. Our families could not be more different. I didn't think it would matter so much, but something happened recently that I can't shake.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 12, 2014 - 86 comments

The Canadian Beaver & Our Furry Heritage

Out in the field with one of Alberta's few female trappers. Emily the Trapper is smart, loves animals, and thinks your ideas about fur trapping are all wrong. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Mar 21, 2014 - 14 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

The business of internet cat videos

“It isn’t just the crazy cat ladies, although they’re there in droves. It’s the six year-olds chanting the name of their favourite cats. It’s the hipsters there smoking cigarettes, hip-hop dudes, country dudes… It is the kind of thing where you have to learn to make everybody happy,”
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 9, 2014 - 6 comments

London Calling

Britain will betray the United States and Ukraine to keep laundering dirty Russian money. "The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes."
posted by four panels on Mar 8, 2014 - 67 comments

Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization

There is much talk today of a financial and economic crisis comparable to the 1930s. With the threat of a currency war and the euro’s collapse looming, the specter of the Great Depression’s bloody aftermath has returned with a vengeance. Several versions of how to make human beings and build society co-existed during the Cold War, when much of the world won independence from colonial empire. Yet, discussion of humanity’s growing interdependence is today limited to a one-world capitalism driven by finance. What have anthropologists to say about that? It would seem very little. But a positive case can be made for the discipline’s contribution to public debate. We make such a case here. We review recent developments in the anthropology of money and finance, listing its achievements, shortcomings and prospects, while referring back to the discipline’s founders a century ago. Economic anthropologists have tended to restrict themselves to niche fields and marginal debates since the 1960s. We hope to reverse this trend by focusing on money’s role in shaping global society and bringing world history into a more active dialogue with ethnography.
Money and finance: For an anthropology of globalization by Keith Hart and Horacio Ortiz
posted by infini on Feb 12, 2014 - 17 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

A government of the many, not a government of money

The “Government by the People Act”, proposed by N. Pelosi and J. Sarbanes in a WP op-ed, is presented as one of the first concrete steps towards the removal of the influence of quasi-unlimited money in US politics. The act doesn’t limit the amount of money that corporations, PACs, etc can pay but rather takes the opposite approach, by encouraging and subsidizing citizen participation. The influence of money on American politics has exploded since the Citizens United ruling… resulting in often disturbing bias. [more inside]
posted by Riton on Feb 5, 2014 - 52 comments

Coin Rules Everything Around Me

In 2014, Bitcoin (BTC) has become established as increasingly "real" money with government regulatory interest, law enforcement, and growing acceptance in commerce, but also as the reserve cryptocurrency for hundreds of "altcoins," making them also convertible to legacy money. Foremost among these is Litecoin (LTC), which introduced the scrypt hashing algorithm to cryptocurrency, democratizing coin mining by being best suited to common GPUs rather than Bitcoin's dedicated mining equipment. Recently donated LTC paid for a forest in Madagascar. Peercoin (PPC), next in prominence, introduces "proof of stake" where less energy is spent mining and existing coins pay interest. Dogecoin (DOGE), a fork of Litecoin (previously covered on Metafilter), continues heading to the moon, with more transactions than all other coins combined, thriving markets in digital goods, tipbots, an upcoming party in NYC's Bitcoin Center on Wall Street, much charity, and the recent announcement that new Dogecoins will be generated indefinitely. A selection of other foremost and interesting cryptocurrencies is within. [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Feb 5, 2014 - 319 comments

Full Of Juveniles Not Using Seat Belts

What does the police blotter look like in one of the most expensive zip-codes in the US?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 22, 2014 - 65 comments

A History of Pain

As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church's efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.
posted by reenum on Jan 22, 2014 - 56 comments

Civic Crowdfunding

Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
posted by divabat on Jan 19, 2014 - 8 comments

I Have a Chinese Banknote That Everyone in China Is Scared Of

In China, there are certain "bad notes" that frighten people and are refused as legal tender. Why?
posted by reenum on Jan 16, 2014 - 77 comments

Catch Me If You Can: Real Estate Edition

Ryan Mullen was on the run for over 14 years. Then, a professional skip tracer named Michelle Gomez got on the case.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Where Are the People?

The waning influence of evangelical Christianity can be seen through the story of Orange County's Crystal Cathedral.
posted by reenum on Dec 16, 2013 - 59 comments

I love the smell of francs in the morning

Have you dreamed of owning a money bin a la Scrooge McDuck? Your dreams can now become a reality.
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2013 - 33 comments

In The Jungle

"Mbube", a song that morphed into "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", illustrates the convoluted legalities surrounding music publishing rights and payments.
posted by reenum on Dec 11, 2013 - 19 comments

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