Posts Tagged 'finance'

MIT Undergrads to Receive Bitcoins: College Currency

Starting next fall, new MIT undergrads will each be receiving $100 worth of bitcoins. This is thanks to the efforts of the MIT Bitcoin club, which wanted to jumpstart a Bitcoin ecosystem.

bitcoin mit

Is Shame Necessary?

Jennifer Jacquet on

“Balancing group and self-interest has never been easy, yet human societies display a high level of cooperation.”

CEO Pay: There Is Something Wrong with This

Sarah Jaffe reports on the current disparity between the pay of the CEOs and the pay of their workers. It’s unconscionable but corporate America won’t let anyone do anything about it. The way the system works is rigged in favor for large corporate entities. They are running things, and corporations are psychopaths. In fact, since Reagan, they’ve been fostering it. And you wonder why there’s no money for universal healthcare. Instead of paying less taxes, companies and CEOs should be paying more taxes. But thanks to tax havens and corporate accounting practices, they probably pay less taxes than the average American.

Walmart workers, meanwhile, make around $8.75 an hour—about $18,000 a year. They’d have to work over a million years to approach what the chairman of Walmart Stores is sitting on. Alice and Jim Walton each have about $20 billion, and Christy Walton has $24 billion.

That top percentile takes home more than 20 percent of the personal income in the country, and their average income is $5.4 million. The average income of the bottom 90 percent, according to the Post, is just $31,244.

They began to change fast in the ‘80s, with Reagan’s deregulation-first agenda—in 1980, CEOs made 42 times what workers made; now it’s 343 times. This, coupled with the failures of communism in practice, led to what British author Mark Fisher calls “capitalist realism”—the idea that there is no alternative and so we’re stuck with what we’ve got. It might not be fair that the company CEO makes hundreds of times your salary, but that’s the way the system is, and it’s the best system we’ve got.

To suggest there might be anything wrong with corporations paying CEOs millions is treated like heresy.

—the Post notes that we belong in the company of Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Jamaica in terms of raw wealth disparity.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that companies with billions held offshore—including companies we all know and use, like Google, Apple, and Microsoft—are asking for a “repatriation” tax holiday to bring that money back to the U.S. In other words, they want to drop the rate they’d pay on that money—$29 billion from Microsoft alone—to 5.25 percent from the 35 percent it is normally, as a reward to them for bringing their money back home.

The kicker to that is that even 5 percent of that cash would be a much-needed jolt of revenue for the U.S. economy, but the last time such a deal was offered, companies shipped money home only to return it to shareholders, lay off workers, close plants, and make plans for the next time the government would reward them for pretending to be patriotic. Merck, the Times notes, “brought back $15.9 billion in October 2005. The next month, it unveiled a restructuring plan to cut 7,000 jobs.”

Color App: Doomed to Failure While Costing Millions

Nice write-up in the NYT about the Color App that’s being doing badly it seems. They raised 41 million in VC capital before releasing their app, which failed miserably. It’s a stark contrast to Instagram, which started with a few employees and $500,000.

Bianca the Covert Escort

Another column from Bianca over at McSweeney’s. I really enjoyed this one. There are a few interesting quotes in it that I selected. The most poignant one is when she talks about her accumulated student debt.

One expectation I encounter to the point of exhaustion is the idea that I’ve gone through some secret hooker sex training to make myself and my partner swing from the chandelier, so to speak. Clients expect me to have some special prostitute ESP that lets me read their minds when they communicate nothing of their wants and desires.

My job is essentially waiting for eight hours in what I call the Internet Depository. I kill time idly for approximately 7.5 hours and change the spacing on bullet points for the remaining half hour. My team is myself and seven unfriendly computer programmers.

If I am out on a call until 2 am, I can come into work the next day and be a complete zombie and no one will notice. It’s a boring job that pays poorly and I’m doing better than most of my peers to have it.

But I was also going to walk out of the condo $200 richer, $200 against my debt. Anyone in debt knows how it controls your life. It’s the abusive boyfriend who never lets you forget he still lives a 20-minute drive away. Until you actually eradicate it, you’ll never be truly free.

Greek Financial Crisis

Great article over at Vanity Fair about the Greek financial crisis. They need the IMF to step in and clean up the country. Then again, it’s the responsibility of Greece, not the EU to clean up this mess. The whole debacle about bribes and not paying taxes is something that can also be seen in the US. A lot of corporations pay almost nothing in income tax due to legal but dubious accounting practices.

The International’s Corrupt Bank

I watched Tom Tykwer’s The International again with my wife. It was a great movie with excellent cinematography. I had forgotten how great the shots were in this movie. I remembered that it was based upon a real bank. Here you can find the real story behind this unscrupulous bank.


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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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