On saying NO to paperless banking, don’t fall in the guilt trap

As a principle, I refuse to change to paper-free statements, not only because the banks themselves don’t accept online statement print-outs as proof of address (ironic!) but because again, I don’t get anything out of it other than feeling less guilty for saving a piece of a tree. But let’s remember, it is the banks who want me to feel guilty about not saving paper and then they turn and mail me unsolicited advertising printed in non-recyclable paper.

I never felt guilty for getting paper statements, as a matter of fact, since I am a geek and keep my accounts to the minute using MS Money software, I never even looked at them. But then, I started having problem after problem after problem with banks and it became clear that keeping the paper statements was a sensible thing to do.

A good old marketer trick, is to create a need that didn’t exist before, and then harvest the profits. The immorality of using fear, guilt or customer stupidity as a means to higher corporate profit lead me to get my BA in Market Research and move out of the industry (not without the knowledge learnt and a permanent interest in the matter though).

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On observations on the weirdness of human behaviour: flipping small cars

Hobbes, I am a big man, 1m87 (6’2ish on a good day) and always felt like a sardine in a tin in little urban cars (trying to get out of my friend’s 2-door Clio is a bit of a mission, and enjoying a trip on the rear seat, a utopia). However, I understand the practicality and economy of owning one of these little fellas.

In my case, size matters, but that is just a design problem that car manufacturers don’t seem to be interested any time soon (I tried to stretch my legs in a Smart and I almost had to get out of the car due to a near panic attack). But that’s the everyday story of the below and above-average beings.

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On observations on the weirdness of human behaviour: the spitting street cleaner

You can call me old fashioned, you are probably right, age is starting to take its toll, but I saw something yesterday that got me thinking…

I was in Belgrave Square, the embassy capital of the British capital where countries like Germany, Austria, Turkey, Syria, Norway, Brunei, Portugal, Ghana, Spain, Belgium, Serbia and many more have made their or their ambassador’s home in London. It is true that Westminster keeps an eye on the place and perhaps because of special care, perhaps because fewer residents and businesses, the place is kept nice and tidy.

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On how China tries to curb increasing inflation with a dose of painful realism

We have been told that China Co. has been exporting deflation in consumer goods for years. However, as resources got scarcer and more and more expensive in dollar terms, inflation –the devil of the year- started kicking in and reaching unsustainable levels.

At the same time, countries with oil cap prices were killing their smaller and making survival extremely difficult to their major players.

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On the rise of the cost of living and the ones who really carry the can

Going back to how to spend it you have plenty [On billionaires spoiling artists and the hard life of the super-rich, May 26], from 2000 to 2007 the super-rich (dwellers of the 95th percentile of the income distribution) saw their real wages increase about 9% compared to an average 3% for the rest of mortals.

This field starts to fascinate me. The rich are getting richer so much faster than the rest of us that luxury goods inflation, you know, the difference in price between year 1 and 2 for those Sikorsky helicopters, Hermès goodies, gold Patek Phillipe watches and, well, other millionaire stuff (I guess I emphasised my social position as a non-well-off), is way higher than the average CPI, IPC, RPI or whatever your own government wants to call it and make out. Continue reading

On oil price at $200 and business as usual

The guys at Goldman Sachs have done it again. They raised the benchmark for the oil barrel to $200. GS’s boys believe that due to inadequate supply growth oil prices are increasingly likely to hit between $150 and $200 a barrel over the next six to 24 months.

Last year the markets thought they were crrrrazy when forecasting $100 a barrel. And now we are playing around $122.

Crazy Hillary and McCain’s gas tax holidays aside, the slowing of the US machine is not enough to balance the raising oil needs of energy inefficient and hungry China and India. Continue reading

On mutant birds and decisions on other people’s health

A while ago I discussed the marvels of the first interesting games for a while. By now we should all know that Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin didn’t exactly have at heart what the Olympic Charter states as the International Olympic Committee mission(s).

You can check in wikipedia, a beautiful long list of mission statements, what high goals for humankind! A small cup of ‘encouragement’, and a teaspoon of ‘cooperation’, but all in all, the most preposterous missions are the ones not related to sports itself: Continue reading