Wednesday, 13 January 2010

'How do we get industry to invest more in research and development?'

Panel discussion from the 2009 SciTech European conference on Innovation in Science and Technology that took place in Brussels this November.

Monday, 11 January 2010

London Mayor Says 9,000 Bankers May Quit City Over Bonus Tax

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- London Mayor Boris Johnson said that as many as 9,000 bankers may leave the U.K. capital’s financial district as a result of a 50 percent tax on bonuses announced last month.
Amen and good riddance.
Admittedly it would be much better if there was general consensus for the formation of an international regulatory agency and a thorough crackdown on tax-havens but since there is little chance of that happening anytime in the forseeable future (which is a practical way of addressing the problem), I'll settle for the bankers exodus while extending my heartfelt apologies to my friends that work in the City. Yes, let them leave and try their luck elsewhere. Meanwhile the world will softly slumber until the next crisis looms ominously in the horizon.

Millions of people worldwide lost their jobs and had their livelihoods compromised owing to the extravagances, short-sightedness, irresponsible behaviour (and, yes, incompetence) of a large part of Wall Street and the City. Governments worldwide rushed to prop the decaying structure -using public money- by buying off toxic debt and keeping the patient on life-support.

One would expect that the opportunity would be seized by the world governments to bring some order in the house but it seems pretty certain now that this unprecedented chance has been squandered.

Anyone who wandered the streets of the City of London in 2007 and 2008, the (g)olden days of yonder, will know of the references herein. You say you want to use my tax money to keep the bonus culture (and the associated decadent structures that go with it) thriving? Disgraceful.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Bonus time

After the government helped bail Banks out of their toxic investments with public money it seems like it's still just "business as usual" in the City and Wall Street.

The Guardian reports:

The world's biggest investment banks are expected to pay out more than $65bn (£40bn) in salaries and bonuses in the next two weeks, reinforcing the view that it is business as usual on Wall Street and in the City barely a year since the taxpayer bailout of the banking system.

Despite efforts by Alistair Darling to deter banks from handing out multi-million pound bonuses through the introduction of a 50% windfall tax, City sources believe that the biggest employers will absorb the cost of the tax rather than cut the size of the bonus pools they amass throughout the year.

This will mean that while proceeds from the tax could top £2bn – more than four times the £550m estimated by the chancellor in the pre-budget report – the government will have failed to alter the traditional bonus culture in the City.

Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, described the size of the potential bonuses as "global greed by banks when global governance has failed". He added: "Britain's bonus tax only toys with the symptoms of the sickness, not its cause. These last few investment banks left standing have state-backed licences to print money so they must pay supertax on their superprofits, not hold taxpayers to ransom."

Friday, 8 January 2010

What does Starbucks have in common with the Beatles and Africa?

On December 7th, 2009 at 1:30pm GMT Starbucks invited musicians from all over the world to sing together at the same time to raise awareness for AIDS in Africa. When the clock struck 1:30, the chariots turned into pumpkins and people from 156 countries sang "All You Need is Love" together. A cheesy corporate ploy? Perhaps, but still heartwarmingly enjoyable.

Starbucks coordinated it via its partnership with the Red organisation to generate money for those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Karaindrou Eleni - Adagio