On money and happiness Takeaway: buying stuff doesn't make you happier, although investing in experiences that strengthen social and familial bonds can. Interestingness: savings increased to 6.5% this year and some experts think this is permanent; conspicuous consumption is shifting to calculated consumption; “There’s massive literature on income and happiness. It’s amazing how little there is on how to spend your money.” [more inside]
Hollywood ate my childhood [or] Why film remakes are desecrating our most precious memories. Hint: it's the money. [more inside]
Debt buyers have become a multi-billion dollar industry. They buy old debts and then litigate in an effort to collect with little or no evidence. [more inside]
M-Pesa, the mobile platform based money transfer system launched by Safaricom in Kenya, is changing the landscape of money in Africa, and around the world. Competition is heating up even while the service expands internationally allowing transactions to occur between Africa, UK and Asia. Bankers, regulators, startups and operators all want a piece of the pie as even the phone manufacturers themselves get into this potentially lucrative business.
For almost 20 years, Art Williams, Jr. was one of the country's eminent currency counterfeiters. His greatest achievement: counterfeiting the new (at the time) $100 bill (PDF link). [more inside]
Is the next debt crisis in student loans? Students are graduating from undergrad with 6-figures of student loan debt. With whom does the responsibility reside? [more inside]
Outsourcing has been a mainstay of internet marketers and lifestyle designers ever since Tim Ferriss made it popular. But at least one of its biggest proponents is now wondering: is outsourcing exploitative by taking advantage of international economic inequality?
Who would have thought it? The UK has withdrawn the 500 Euro note after an investigation by SOCA discovered that 90% of the notes in circulation were linked to crime. Nicknames the ‘Bin Laden’ (you know its out there somewhere) the purple note worth $630 is a favourite of the criminally minded due to its ultra-portability and acceptance throughout mainland Europe. Drug investigations in Latin America time and time again turn up large amounts of currency in this form. According to Columbian financial regulators 234K Euros was legally imported and declared into the country but trails of 600M Euros being exported were discovered. Whilst money laundering and fraud relating to the Euro is nothing new the decision to put into circulation such a high note must now be being questioned at the highest levels.
I'm not one to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked but I had a few items from my last trip to Trader Joe's and they would get the job done.
"What would be it like to go a day without spending any money? I've thought about this before but I've never considered actually trying it. I couldn't imagine going a day without spending a single penny -- is that even possible? How would I get from A to B? What about food? Turns out, a day of living expense free is possible and you'd be surprised by the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and feeling of elation that comes from it. " The Huffington Post's Alexa van Tobel tells the astonishing and empowering tale of How I Went 24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City. Unfortunately, "this experiment is unsustainable for a long period of time."
Antoine Walker starred on arguably the greatest college basketball team of all time- the 1996 National Champion Kentucky Wildcats and went on to earn over $110 million dollars as a 3-time NBA All-Star with the Boston Celtics. In 2010, Walker is broke and eyeing an NBA comeback to pay off his creditors, including 2 Vegas casinos owed more than $900,000. [more inside]
Writers get pirated too - so how can they still earn money? Here are some ideas, but are they workable? [more inside]
"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel." Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
Follow the money attempts to detect and visualize the structure of large-scale communities in the US based on the flow of money using data from Where's George? [via]
"What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street" - "Looting Main Street" Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look into how finance, deregulation, corruption, synthetic rate swaps, and greed decimated Birmingham, AL. [more inside]
Always Split Test (Even if you’re a bum): A marketing experiment to benefit the homeless, or a homeless experiment to benefit a marketer? Online marketing blogger "Brian" puts his talent to work by making a better sign for a homeless man.
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
Abbey Road the famous recording studios are up for sale! After losing their headline acts Radiohead and The Rolling Stones the troubled record company has posted losses of £1.75bn Former bond-trader Guy Hands has been running EMI since 2007
Is it safe? While it looks that the banking system is in better shape than before, some companies still seem to want to hedge their bet. A German insurance company is suing the German central bank to force them open a checking account for them. "As an insurer, it’s our very own task to manage risks and regulators demand that from us,” Mallinckrodt said. “The Bundesbank is the only lender in Germany with no risk to become insolvent, so only an account there is risk free." [more inside]
"I'm needy, but I'm not greedy. It's better to be honest." A New York City cabbie returns over $21,000 left in his taxi. A similar case occurred three years ago when a Manhattan cabbie returned half a million dollars worth of diamond rings. Honest taxi drivers can be found on the West Coast, as well.
Mohandas K. Gandhi’s critique of the modern identification of society with the state was devastating. He believed that it disabled citizens, subjecting mind and body to the control of professional experts when the purpose of a civilization should be to enhance its members’ sense of their own self-reliance. He proposed instead that every human being is a unique personality and participates with the rest of humanity in an encompassing whole. Between these extremes lie proliferating associations of great variety. [...] But what is most relevant to us is his existentialist project. If the world of society and nature is devoid of meaning, each of us is left feeling small, isolated and vulnerable. How do we bridge the gap between a puny self and a vast, unknowable world? The answer is to scale down the world, to scale up the self or a combination of both, so that a meaningful relationship might be established between the two. Gandhi devoted a large part of his philosophy to building up the personal resources of individuals. Our task is to bring this project up to date. ~ From The Digital Revolution and me by John Keith Hart
If Potter gets a hold of this building and loan, there will never be another decent house built in this town.
Frank Capra meets Collateralized Debt Obligations:
The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it's meant to be. It's neither Left nor Right -- it's populism at its best.Move your money.
Footnoted.org, a blog devoted to pointing out those buried atrocities in SEC filings, is having its annual worst footnote of the year contest. contenders include Chesapeake Energy disclosing it spent $12.1 million to purchase Aubrey McClendon's antique map collection, Martha Stewart's $3 million retention payment to remain at Martha Stewart Omnimedia and InfoGroup disclosing it really spent $852K on former CEO Gupta's yacht instead of zero. Polls close tomorrow.
Adnan Khashoggi was one of the high society news makers in the 80's, considered by some to be on Donald Trump's level. While things have gone alright for the Donald, Khashoggi hasn't done as well... [more inside]
Might the consumer banking revolution be coming? "Yodlee is the engine behind the online banking operations of most banks in America — and, for that matter, of mint.com... and it's now going to open up that database to software developers around the world." With mobile internet adoption soaring, the birth of iBanking may not be that far behind. An upgrade of payment and financial information systems could be closer than you think. [more inside]
In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee... where he’s seeking re-appointment as the Fed’s chairman, Bernanke called for cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security... “Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money is, as he put it,” Bernanke said. “The money in this case is in entitlements.” [more inside]
This Christmas: 6 ways you're not saving money (when you think you are) and 39 ways you could be (that you're not doing).
“We send something whenever we have a little extra, at least enough so he can eat." Remittances, the small money transfers a previous FPP called "the most important antipoverty program in the world", are now flowing the opposite direction. Yes, poor families in southern Mexico are having scramble to find money to send north to their out of work relatives in the US.
Cuban players have long been a mainstay in baseball. After Fidel Castro made it impossible for people to leave the island, the flow of players stopped to a drip. That changed with the defection of Rene Arocha in 1991. [more inside]
When people think of the pitfalls of the baseball draft, it is hard not to remember the story of Matt Harrington. Harrington was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the Rockies and the Padres in successive years, only to go back into the draft after failing to reach an agreement each time. As the years went by, his stock kept falling. [more inside]
Lenny Dykstra was lauded for his heroics with the Mets and Philles. After his career, Dykstra became well-known as a post-career athlete success story. Then the truth started coming out... [more inside]
"If the Swiss can do it on a regular basis, why can't we North Americans too." The Dollar ReDe$ign Project believes its time for the United States to switch from the old to something new in the field of American currency. As a result, a contest was developed and submissions accepted. They range from the cultural to the cynical, and a salute to American space achievements to update designs to the present content.
Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, says: If the goal was to increase lending, well we haven't increased lending. ... Banks that were too big to fail are bigger than ever. ... When TARP was announced, the whole purpose was a statement that we're not going to let our large financial instiutions fail. And with that I think we may be in a far more dangerous place today than we were a year ago. (via)
Debt: The first five thousand years. Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber (previously) writes about "debt and debt money in human history" in Eurozine. Lots of thought-provoking stuff here; I'll put a sample in the extended description. (Via wood s lot.) [more inside]
How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz? "This" being broke-ass-broke. More or less.
The Goat Who Took on the Fed: WSJ's Andy Jordan spends time in the Berkshires to see how locals make the case for "slow money" with their own local currency, "The Berkshare". (previously 1 2 3 4) [more inside]
Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Daniel Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit. [more inside]
Meeting Ticker -- if this helps shorten even one meeting by one minute, it'll have been worth it.
"The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." [more inside]
When Money Buys Happiness. List the ten most expensive things (products, services or experiences) that you have ever paid for (including houses, cars, university degrees, marriage ceremonies, divorce settlements and taxes). Then, list the ten items that you have ever bought that gave you the most happiness. Count how many items appear on both lists. [more inside]
Mark Wagner makes money into art.
Standard & Poor’s changed the UK's credit outlook from stable to negative a few days ago, and warned that there is a chance the UK could lose its AAA rating. Meanwhile, Moodys, another of the big 3 rating agencies, has warned that the US might also eventually lose its AAA rating. The UK announcement caused sterling to drop by 1% and the FTSE by 2%. However, many blame the same rating agencies for their part in triggering the subprime crisis. The irony of this is not lost on the Wall Street Journal, who note that "After all, those governments are jacking up spending, in part, to bail out the financial firms who gobbled up those 'AAA' asset backed securities duly blessed by the credit ratings firms." [more inside]