And Now For The Truly Absurd Complaint About Amazon’s Taxes

It really has to be seen to be believed this complaint about Amazon’s taxes:

Jon Nordmark, founder of consultancy Iterate.ai, said Jeff Bezos’s empire was different. Amazon last year, he said, put nearly $30bn (£22.8bn) into R&D — twice as much as Apple, and almost triple Facebook’s outlay. That investment — Amazon said the $29bn it puts into “technology and content” is far broader than R&D — has gobbled up virtually all its $28bn in earnings before interest and expenses, Nordmark said.

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Morrisons Hasn’t Banned Vegan Pies in Melton Mowbray, Don’t Be Silly

They might say they have, banned their new vegan pork pie in the town of Melton Mowbray out of concern for the locally famed pork based product. But that’s just a manner of gaining some column inches for free in the national press about the fact that they’re launching a vegan pork pie.

Quite a good piece of work too:

Morrisons has banned the sale of its new vegan pork pies in Melton Mowbray the home of the traditional British snack to ‘avoid offending residents of the town’.

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Retailers Going Digital Payment Only Don’t Save Money

It’s entirely true that handling cash costs money. Banks charge a pretty penny for graciously accepting a river of coins and notes from a business account for example. But that’s not the same thing as saying that going digital payment only saves money. For there are benefits to handling cash as well as costs:

British retailers could save more than £7m a year each by ditching cash and accepting only card and digital payments, a study claims.

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But Fans Don’t Own Football

Fans are the customers of football, not the owners. Which makes this rant against Amazon Prime a little odd:

Players will earn more, clubs will spend more; every part of the football industrial complex will welcome this frothing new income stream. But in reality this money comes, as ever, from those who pay to watch. The entry of BT Sport into this marketplace was similarly trumpeted as a golden moment of choice. In practice it became necessary for football supporters to pay twice, to engage with yet another monthly contract, just to receive essentially the same service.

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Corruption In The Coercive And Voluntary Sectors: Rotten Apples? Or The Tips of Icebergs?

The mainstream media now describes a country that does not exist.

Just as their polls were wrong and they failed to understand why, so they now talk only to others like themselves and believe the whole country feels that way. If mainstream media journalists or politicians ever encounter a normal person who hates their guts, they tell themselves they are a Rotten Apple.

And when they encounter a corrupt civil servant, politician or journalist, they pretend the same.…

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Will Hutton Really Doesn’t Understand Economics, Does He?

This weekend’s Willy Rant was about how America is becoming ever more concentrated in its economy. Monopoly not just thrives but expands and the economic rents from that explain all that ails the colonial cousins.

The problem with this being that there’s not an ounce of truth to it:

Except the latest research demonstrates the reverse is true. Britain is about to make a vast mistake. In the recently published The Great Reversal, leading economist Thomas Philippon of New York University and member of the advisory panel of the New York Federal Reserve, mounts a devastating attack on the conventional wisdom, so perfectly embodied by the witless Boris Johnson.

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Some People Just Never Will Understand Markets

All rather Upton Sinclair of course, there would be no point in someone writing for the American Prospect understanding markets because anyone who did would lose their job there. But even then this is particularly dismal as an essay upon economic logic:

Speaking of walking away, private equity just closed a chapter on the opportunity it sought out of the misery of the financial crisis. As millions of families suffered the sting of foreclosure, private equity firms fanned out to distressed areas across the country and scooped up foreclosed properties, spending about $100 million a week.

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NPower And The Energy Price Cap

Some things are simply true whoever it is that tries to do them. If the just and righteously socialist decide to take over vast swathes of the economy then we’ll have vast swathes of the economy run with bureaucratic efficiency. If Greens insist we all live like medieval peasants then we’ll all live like medieval peasants. And if Tories bring in price caps then we’ll have all the effects pf price caps. Like, you know, no suppliers and no supply of the thing being price capped.…

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A Particularly Silly Argument About Sourdough And Sourfaux Bread

Actually, there are two silly arguments here about sourdough and sourfaux bread. One that is, admittedly, from the more gnarly and detailed shores of economics, the other being one of such simplicity that even Grandpa Death should be able to get it – not that he does.

The underlying here being that sourdough bread is becoming more popular and why not? Those who produce it the craft way want protection from the industrial bakers who, now that it’s more than a spit portion of the market, are trying to muscle in.…

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The Economic Case For Dark Kitchens

The latest move by the likes of Deliveroo and all that is to create “dark kitchens”. That is, places ’round the back of the trading estate which prepare the food which is to be delivered. A restaurant without the restaurant that is. And, the point of the exercise, without the rent bill for a high footfall location.

At which point it is obvious why dark kitchens are existing. Because once it’s possible not to need the high footfall location why bother paying for it?…

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