Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas reading

After a series of excellent op-eds on finance and ethics, here is the best FT summary so far:

Faith and finance: Of greed and creed, By Patrick Jenkins, Published: December 23 2009 20:02

And a link to the others, see the videos especially

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bonuses and Anglo-Saxons

Anglo-Saxons are under attack again. Apparently every meeting of the European Parliament these days opens with a ritual denunciation of Anglo-Saxon capitalism. France’s appointment of Michel Barnier as internal market Commissioner has sparked talk of a conspiracy to seize control of finance away from London. The Basel Committee wants to prevent undercapitalised banks from paying bonuses.

Meanwhile on the home front,

Banking crisis simply explained

Young Paddy bought a donkey from a farmer for £100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day he drove up and said, 'Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey's died.'

Paddy replied, 'Well then just give me my money back.' The farmer said, 'Can't do that. I've already spent it.'

Paddy said, 'OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.' The farmer asked, 'What are you going to do with him?'

Paddy said, 'I'm going to raffle him off.' The farmer said, 'You can't raffle a dead donkey!'

Paddy said, 'Sure I can. Watch me.. I just won't tell anybody he's dead.'

A month later, the farmer met up with Paddy and asked, 'What happened with that dead donkey?'

Paddy said, 'I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two pounds a piece and made a profit of £898'

The farmer said, 'Didn't anyone complain?' Paddy said, 'Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two pounds back.'

Paddy now works for the Royal Bank of Scotland

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Better ration carbon than babies

Copenhagen is a great excuse to indulge in Armageddon fantasies. From Hollywood's trashy "2012" to the Maldivian underwater cabinet meeting, the end-of-the-world has never seemed as nigh. 
One particular doomsday scenario that Copenhagen raises is the possibility of a huge reduction of farmable land surface leaving the earth too small to support its human population. Sci-fi or not, the implications are far more alarming than boring old carbon reduction.