"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
Don't go to art school. Why it's a bad idea and what you can do with the money instead.
Sly Stone's history of drug addiction and eccentricity is well known. But, a recent California Court of Appeals ruling details how a series of ill advised business deals left Stone destitute. [more inside]
The thrill and rush of possibly winning started to wear off after about the twentieth losing ticket. Each card had a couple of “Life” symbols on them, and every time you got a second you just dreamed of seeing the third one under the remaining graphite. However it never appeared and never will and it just kind of turned depressing. How could people put themselves through this humiliation and teasing every day of their lives?
The classic criticism of the lottery is that the people who play are the ones who can least afford to lose; that the lottery is a sink of money, draining wealth from those who most need it. Some lottery advocates . . . have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy—paying a dollar for a day's worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire. But consider exactly what this implies. It would mean that you're occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero—a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize. . . . Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy. [via]
Prom spending rising again, average of $1,139 The USA Today story is based on a recent VISA press release about prom spending that comes out every year. The VISA press release breaks down how prom spending is highest among Northeastern families, with Northeasterners averaging $1,528 compared to Midwesterners paltry $722. It also shows a breakdown by income category with families earning less than $50,000 spending an average of $1,245 while those from higher earning families spend $1,129. [more inside]
Aereo is a web service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast TV on their computers or mobile devices. The broadcast networks are furious. Aereo is ready for a PR fight, and is currently winning the legal battle. Variety wonders: Is Aereo Actually a Good Thing? [more inside]
Tom Roeser was unhappy about the decline of his town, Carpentersville, IL. So he decided to do something about it. Roeser bought some foreclosed properties, renovated them, and then rented them out for below market value.
Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
Guilt, gratitude, music photography. Freelance Australian music photographer Leah Robertson writes about being underpaid, and how pervasive it is in the industry. Check out rates from around the world at Who Pays Photographers?
Generation Gap: "The parents of China’s post-1980 generation [the bā líng hòu (八零後)] (themselves born between 1950 and 1965) grew up in a rural, Maoist world utterly different from that of their children. In their adolescence, there was one phone per village, the universities were closed and jobs were assigned from above. If you imagine the disorientation and confusion of many parents in the West when it comes to the internet and its role in their children’s lives, and then add to that dating, university life and career choices, you come close to the generational dilemma. Parents who spent their own early twenties labouring on remote farms have to deal with children who measure their world in malls, iPhones and casual dates." [more inside]
Can the UK's 'toilet circuit' of small music venues survive? From Coldplay to PJ Harvey, a lot of big British rock acts started out playing tiny pubs and clubs around the UK. But with many of these venues closing, who will keep the rock'n'roll dream alive? [more inside]
Today is a new day in Canadian specie, being the last day that the Royal Canadian Mint will distribute the penny. Cash transactions will now be rounded to the nearest $0.05. CBC posts an obituary. [more inside]
"Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Defacement of currency in such a way that it is made unfit for circulation comes under the jurisdiction of the United States Secret Service." - source"Defaced Money" tagged Tumblr posts, 11 more impressive examples of creatively defaced currency, 101 Unusual, Impressive And Illegal Pieces Of Defaced Currency, and some cool guitar picks.
Eunuchs of the Universe: Tom Wolfe on Wall Street Today: [Daily Beast]
"As America teeters on a cliff, Tom Wolfe draws up a sterling indictment of our unscrupulous financial culture. Twenty-five years after Bonfire of the Vanities, the author returns to Wall Street to see what happened to the Masters of the Universe."
Banknote.ws attempts to collect and classify images of all the world's paper currency, both historical and modern, whether it's sublimely beautiful or utterly worthless. If you prefer your banknotes with snarky commentary, hasten to James Lileks' Engraveyard.
The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar Empire RBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home.
The day would come when many West Virginians recalled the story of Jack's Powerball Christmas with a shudder at the magnitude of ruination: families asunder, precious lambs six feet under, folks undone by the lure of all that easy money.
Who's the Shop Steward on Your Kickstarter? "The true product for sale on Kickstarter is not your art project, but your community and networks. ... Our projects that facilitate the funding are a side effect, a cost of doing business—the business of drilling our relationships for all they are worth."
At least 112 workers died in Tazreen garments factory fire in Bangladesh. The reasons of the fire are the subject of investigation, but the firefighters put the blame for the tragedy on the lack of fire exits. Since 2006, over 500 garment factory workers died in Bangladesh fires caused often by poor safety standards and shoddy electrical installations. The garments made in the Tazreen factory were sold by C&A, among others. Clothing makes up 80 percent of the country's $24 billion in annual exports.
Last year saw the 100th anniversary of another such tragedy.
Last year saw the 100th anniversary of another such tragedy.
In last night's episode of Independent Lens on PBS, filmmaker Alex Gibney presented the case that America's richest citizens have "rigged the game in their favor," and created unprecedented inequality in the United States. "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream" [video, website]
Ask A Banker: What's The Deal With High Frequency Trading? From the planet money NPR team.
The Fool and His Money - The sequel to the 1987 puzzle game The Fool's Errand has just been released, after nearly 10 years of delay and anticipation. [more inside]
It’s not as though as a society we have become that much stupider than our forbears; it’s because we have become that much more corrupt.
Adam Garfinkle discusses American political dysfunction in one, two, three parts.
Adam Garfinkle discusses American political dysfunction in one, two, three parts.
The Absurd Quest for Euro Crisis Images: The Greeks aren't the only ones sick of the euro crisis. Photographers are reaching the end of their tether too, struggling to shoot images of euro coins in various states of distress to illustrate the story. Though some of the photos are absurd, they still get published -- because news outlets are equally desperate. Gallery. [via]
Thought the "rubber rooms" where New York City teachers were sent to wait for disciplinary hearings were closed? Not so much. [more inside]
In anticipation of "The Hobbit" movie, New Zealand has issued "Lord of the Rings" themed coins that are legal tender.
Kevin Roose of Nymag.com posted about a brand new North Carolinian hedge fund that seemed less than impressive. The fund then started to use a sarcastic quote from Kevin's post as a kind of ringing endorsement on their website. Uh oh.
Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
Librarian Jenica Rogers wrote an interesting post on how her library decided to cancel their ACS subscription. Walking away from the American Chemical Society where she talks about money issues all too familiar to librarians but maybe not well known in the general public. Her post was picked up by The Chronicle Of Higher Ed The ACS only said "We find little constructive dialogue can be had on blogs and other listservs where logic, balance and common courtesy are not practiced and observed..." Things took a turn on a discussion list, where The Director of Office of Public Affairs for the ACS said "But I think you would agree that vulgarity and profanity postings do not lend themselves to meaningful, productive and civil discourse, thus our decision not to engage any further with her on this topic." Many other bloggers have taken up the torch including Walt Crawford, Jonathan Eisen, Iris Jastram, Chris Zammarelli and Steve Lawson, Any Woodworth, John Dupuis and one on ChemBark.
Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide - a discussion of claw games, Panini sticker books, and in-app purchases in free-to-play games for kids.
The National Bureau of Economic Research has published a new paper analyzing 138 years of economic history in 14 advanced economies, which proves that high levels of private debt cause severe recessions. (Via) Bonus SLYT: Money As Debt (1hr)
Start Your Own Currency - "In the Catalonia region of Spain, a restaurant and a community garden are part of an experiment in alternative cash--they are accepting a home-grown currency called the Eco as well as the Euro." [viz. gated article (Google link), cf. The Wörgl Experiment]
The Bank of Canada has changed the design of its new $100 bill after receiving numerous comments from focus groups that the woman pictured looked like she was of Asian descent. [more inside]
Like James Bond movies? And box office grosses? And visualized data? Then today is your lucky day.
"[T]he corrupting influence of money is the first problem facing this nation. That unless we solve this problem, we won’t solve anything else... The Framers, Lessig says, had just one kind of dependence in mind for members of Congress: a dependence on the people. He quotes The Federalist (the then-anonymous essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that are often used as a contemporary account of the Framers’ intentions) to make this point: number 52 describes the House of Representatives as that “branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone” (emphasis added). But in the last two decades, Lessig writes, members of Congress have developed a fearsome dependency: campaign cash. The total amount spent on campaigns by all candidates for Congress in 2010 was $1.8 billion. Fundraising has become a way of life..." (via 3 Quarks Daily)
How to make money with £100 Five Guardian writers speculate to accumulate.
The most recent issue of Businessweek contains an article about How The Mormon Church Makes Its Billions. There has been a backlash, mostly over the cover.
"The last European monopoly, in any area, is crumbling. This recently-opened transfer window has underscored, more than anything else, that it is no longer the European football clubs’ birthright to sign the greatest players in the world." -- Leander Schaerlaeckens on the growing clout of Chinese, Brazilian, and (WTF?) Indian soccer leagues in grabbing the top talent
"During the proceedings, the prosecutor took the time to mention that no other printer in the world could do what Kuhl had done."
Hans-Jurgen Kuhl was able to create "shockingly perfect" copies of the American $100 bill by using his artistic talents to conquer the various security features present in the bill.
How Money Makes People Act Less Human: Earlier this year, [Paul] Piff, who is 30, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that made him semi-famous. Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”
What's also obvious is that this phase of Occupy, with talk of credit unions and occupying the SEC, while eminently worthy, is also kind of boring, especially when compared to the thrill of Occupy's park phase. Some, though, are ready to move on. "It's easy to go back to the park occupation and fetishize it, in a way," says Occupy Chicago's Brian Bean. "I prefer not to run a mini-society – I want to run society." - The Battle For The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Stone - Mark Binelli.