Good morning

Note: if you’d like to receive these posts in your inbox, you can sign up at the top of the sidebar on the home page →

The headlines:

  1. The Vice-Presidential Debate.

    Link: farcical?

    It’s all so wildly pre-constructed. Paul Ryan gets asked a question; he pauses; he smiles; he hesitates as he finds his place in the mentally prepared speech; he relates a story about his mom and his grandma and how this policy affected them; he gives some facts about the Obama Administration’s failure; he tells us how he and Mitt Romney plan to fix it. All the while, Biden is snorting and humphing and chortling derisively. Then it’s Biden’s turn.

    Who continues to snort and humph and chortle derisively during his speech.

    Whatever the basis of the argument, Joe Biden does not come off well.

    And then at the end, the families come on stage and greet each other. Like they’re buddies and hey, just disagreeing with you bud.


  2. Striker stalemate.

    Link: South African gold workers reject a new pay offer.

    Well there’s a surprise. Goldfields and co, who are sitting mostly idle as their workers chant and generally threaten anyone un-unionised from not joining their union strike, offered a 2% increase and some lowering of bands (ie. no more workers in the lowest band). The workers said no and, presumably, continued chanting.

    At Anglo Platinum, the strikers burned a man to death for not participating. And apparently the strikers are also burning taxis.

    My question: where is the South African version of the National Guard? The mob is in control, and it’s going crazy. Surely the government should be, at the very least, attempting to wrest control back?

    Or did the police scandal at Marikana leave everyone too politically petrified to do anything more?

  3. Chinese banks resist lowering interest rates.

    Link: the profitability of their lending operations.

    The Chinese central bank has permitted lenders up to 30% discounts on the benchmark lending rate to clients. It seems that the lenders will give a 10% discount and no more.

    You wonder why that is… In America, banks would be falling over themselves to offer the lowest rate possible to build up a massive loan base and gain margin and market share. Perhaps it’s a Chinese culture difference. Loyalty to your bank (the noble interpretation)?

    I can’t help but think there’s a strategic point here… If I were a bank without restriction, would I operate on the policy of “I want to keep my customers by being the best and offering the best service at the best prices”? Or would I operate on the “any customer that comes in, I must make beholden to me so that they cannot leave no matter what interest rate I charge”? It’s not very ethical, perhaps. And if that happened in the first world, Occupy Wall St protesters would be all up in arms.

    But when your culture expects you to keep face, you’re incentivised to advertise your wins and keep quiet about your losses (like suddenly discovering you’re enslaved to your lender).

    Frankly – I have no idea. But it’s just a thought.

  4. Softbank.

    Link: the 300 year plan to owning the world.

    This Japanese gentleman is planning on buying the world:

    I have never really heard of Softbank before. But Masayoshi Son, its founder, has unveiled a plan to buy a further 5,000 companies by 2040. And part of that is a planned acquisition of a controlling stake in Sprint Nextel Inc.

    I’m not sure what either Softbank or Sprint Nextel Inc do (I suspect that it’s something to do with mobile phones and/or the internet and/or wireless connectivity).

    But that’s some vision.

  5. The big companies leave…

    Link: Greece loses her largest one.

    Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling SA (the world’s second largest bottler) is moving to London.

  6. The poor Wall Street children.

    Link: victims.

    Nothing like brattish satire.

  7. And I really liked this op-ed.

    Link: Caroline Baum is awesome.

    5 things that the democrats won’t tell you.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.