Alphaville LLC is delighted to announce that its inaugural research report “Ice deal; US chief is interested in purchasing Greenland”, was quoted by prestigious British broadsheet the Guardian on Monday 19 August.

Phillip Inman, economics editor of the Observer and an economics writer for the Guardian, cited research analyst Jamie Powell’s $1.1tn price target for the arctic landmass in a piece this morning titled “Why does Donald Trump want to buy Greenland”.

The amusement being that the LLC is the spoof research organisation of the FT blog. Inman quoted it as being real……

So, here’s a question – football shirts

Yes, yes, I know, people want the latest designs which is why every club issues three or four new strips every year. And they’re all copyright too.


But when were strips not copyright? How far back does one need to go for them to be free for all?

Subsidiary question, what’s the date for that in American sports teams?

Business Opportunity Of The Day

The steam train enthusiasts should team up with coal-mining enthusiasts. There are bound to be a few near-surface deposits that could be mined by chaps in Victorian clothing, using pit ponies.


Forest of Dean might be a good start. Maybe Newcastle coast? Sea coal?

Update. So, checking on this. The mine in the Viscount Ridley’s land – not operated by him – cultivates the steam trains as an interesting market…..

This is how you deal with oiks like Aer Lingus

Take it away Squander Two.

An open letter to Aer Lingus on the occasion of their quite dreadful service.
Dear Sir or Madam,

I was unfortunate enough to be on your delayed flight EI937 from Heathrow to Belfast City on 19/7/19, so am writing to complain about the delay itself, the way you made the delay worse, and the way you treated your passengers. I fly twice a week and have very low expectations of airlines, generally putting up with the whole awful experience that you all offer without complaining. That Aer Lingus have managed to do so much so badly in just one flight that I am prompted to write this letter is some sort of perverse achievement.

Those who have their own blogs, or Tweet and all that, are invited to spreads this little missive.

Economic idiot

US labels China a currency manipulator as trade tensions flare

As I point out elsewhere, the yuan falling is what is supposed to happen:

President Trump is vilely angry that China is manipulating the yuan down in value. This is to undo everything he’s been striving for in the trade negotiations, and how dare they do such a thing? It’s also true that the yuan going own in value is the normal and obvious market response to the various trade tariffs being imposed upon Chinese exports. Blaming people for what ought to happen, blaming people for what would happen even if everyone did nothing, doesn’t seem that great a basis for international politics.

The Donald might be doing good politics but then for me economics always does trump politics.

The Effect Of Brexit On Rolls Royce

The Observer tells us that it’s all likely to be very difficult. Without actually managing to understand how the business works in the slightest.

Rolls-Royce has some advantages over other manufacturers under a no-deal Brexit. First, the aerospace industry already operates under World Trade Organisation rules, so there will be no extra tariffs.

Quite, so there’s no downside.

And what’s the thing the Observer doesn’t even know about? Rolls Royce earns in dollars. Which will be worth more when translated into sterling as the pound falls. And Rolls Royce reports in sterling. Thus Brexit will push up Rolls Royce profits. With no downside to be had from changes in tariffs.


Well, no, not really

It is not every day that you read a stock market announcement like the one from Goals this morning. The company said that the discovery means that there is “material uncertainty” about its accounts and that it does not believe it will be able to file its 2018 accounts by the regulatory deadline of September 30. Missing this deadline means that shares in Goals will be cancelled from that date.

It is not every day that you read a report like that in a newspaper.

It is the listing that will be cancelled of course, not the shares.


The profit maxim is paramount and is reflected in well established economic theory of supply and demand – holding back supply when demand is high, keeps prices high.

But only a monopolist – or a cartel – can do that. In a market high prices stimulate new supply, see?

James Somerville
Emeritus Professor of Construction Management , Glasgow Caledonian University

Ah, right, another proof that the expansion of the universities wasn’t a good idea.

Quality and standards have drifted over the last 40 years with house prices rocketing despite their diminishing size. The Parker Morris space standards of the 1960s are not difficult to achieve, nor would they slow down production. Several housebuilders have tried minimalist approaches to new homes, such as “tiny homes” for solo living, but many buyers have quickly realised that these were not a long-term solution.

We can expect that we will require more flexibility from our homes in the future, as technology drives changes to how we interact and socialise. Reasonable living space such as under Parker Morris standards would be well-placed to accommodate future changes.

Similarly, quality standards are required. Consumer protection law exists to ensure consumers are treated fairly when buying goods and services, and that businesses operate within the competition law. Yet despite a new home almost certainly being the largest purchase most people will ever make, new homes are not explicity protected by the scope of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The home buyer has little means of redress when something goes wrong.

In order to ensure the rights of homebuyers are truly protected, the Competition and Markets Authority should examine the concentration of shareholdings within the industry with a view to limiting the direct influence of a small number of large institutional investors, and to expand the remit The Consumer Rights Act to include new homes.

And maybe we could get the government to stop insisting upon 13 dwellings per hectare in order to gain those:

the Tudor Walters Report recommended that new homes were not to be cramped terraced houses packed into available space, but rather open and airy, low-density garden suburbs.

As far as I can tell it’s actually illegal to build to those post WWI standards of garden size etc.

So, don’t bother to write for Medium then

Medium says it offers a chance to get published behind their paywall. Doing so then gains you some portion of what people pay to be able to get past the paywall.

I tried this. Two essays. Not saying that either are pure and golden but each is a couple of thousand words looking askance at policies being advanced in the Democratic primaries.

No, not saying that the political line is the reason for the following.

After a couple of weeks neither has been reviewed by Medium for inclusion behind that paywall. One actually tells me their editorial staff is so overwhelmed that they won’t even bother. The other says they’ve not got to it yet – that second being the older one by a couple of days.

Yes, I have sent emails and asked and got no response.

So, the conclusion has to be that Medium, as a place to write and get paid, simply doesn’t work.

Ah well, shrug.

Wooden skyscrapers

You know, I can’t help feeling that thee’s a risk here:

British Columbia is no stranger to wooden giants. Along its western coast, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce trees topping 60 meters in height have in some cases weathered nearly a millennium of storms.

Now a growing chorus of architects, foresters and engineers want the province’s biggest city to grow another cluster of wooden giants: timber skyscrapers.

Already, Vancouver’s 18-storey Brock Commons tower stands as a testament to the vast possibilities of wood. Once the world’s tallest timber building, it was built cheaper, faster and with less environmental impact than a comparable steel and concrete structure would have been – offsetting an estimated 2,432 metric tonnes of carbon.

Now the provincial government has changed its building codes, effectively doubling the height limit for wood-frame buildings to 12 storeys (Brock Commons was granted an exception when it was built). The Canadian government is expected to match BC’s codes nationwide.

Hmm, well. As Grenfell showed, building in concrete doesn’t make a place fireproof. But still:

Despite popular misconceptions of wood as fire-prone and unstable, it can be a robust and innovative building material.

That doesn’t quite answer the misconception, does it?

Also known as winning

He made millions bringing authentic pizzas to Britain, but by the time of his death, businessman Peter Boizot had lost all of his money.

The Pizza Express founder, who died last December aged 89, left assets of £99,050, but the size of his net estate was reduced to nil after his liabilities were settled, probate records show.

Despite making a reported £33 million when he sold the hugely successful restaurant chain in 1993

Don’t think leases work like that, do they?

Fears that thousands of shops housed in railway arches would face crippling rent rises are being borne out after the sale of Network Rail’s property portfolio, owners of the businesses have said.

Despite concerns from tenants, last year the government signed off the £1.5bn selloff to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners, who took control of the 5,200 properties.

With the arches used by businesses across the country, from bakers and bike shops to mechanics and brewers, there are claims that as a result some of them have been hit with up to 85% rent increases.

One tattoo artist said that after a visit from the Arch Company, the vehicle through which Telereal and Blackstone own the sites, his landlord received a phone call saying they wanted him out within four weeks as his shop did not “fit their business model”.

Moby Kenyon, a tattoo artist from Peckham, started his business with four others two years ago and employs 12 people at the store, Rye Lanez.

“It would be beyond devastating, it would destroy the business,” he said, reacting to the possibility of being evicted in less than a month. “We have put so much work into getting this place set up. We’ve never taken any loans out but grown it organically.

There usually are break clauses in leases. But one that takes effect in 4 weeks over “we don’t like you”?

I have more than a sneaking suspicion that there’s no lease here. So, in the absence of a lease and security of tenancy why is there this complaint about insecurity of tenancy?

Like, you know, getting stonkingly rich?

Top graduates are no longer flocking to the City of London as banks and finance firms are losing out to trendier businesses in technology and other more fashionable industries, bosses fear.

Dame Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at Legal and General Investment Management, said her son’s generation did not see the City as an attractive destination with financial services “the 12th choice for graduates” by industry.

At a time of high employment and a growing skills shortage, workers have an increasing choice of jobs and careers. For younger workers in particular this means they can choose companies that match their values….

And thus the rush to tech companies and their stock awards…..

And wouldn’t it be fun if the standardisation of workers equity came from that free market competition for these bright young things? Spread across the economy as a result of peeps trying to compete with tech?

We knew there was going to be a trick here

That the Labour Party wants to renationalise the electricity and gas networks is true. That the Labour Party is insane is true. Even, that the Labour Party is insane to want to renationalise the electricity and gas networks.

But what was going to be the trick?

Pension funds deficits – these are already included in market prices. Asset stripping – the assets have been stripped, the current market price includes the fact that they’re gone. Stranded assets are already in the market price – they’re there at the price that the market reckons they’re stranded at. State of repair is in the market price. Current state subsidies are in the market price – past ones aren’t.

So, all of the adjustments which Labor says it will make are already made.

That is, they’re lying, they’re going to steal private property. But then socialists, eh? Pan-time and U-bend for the national economy….

Slightly worrying, eh?

Jeremy Corbyn has drawn up plans to take control of Britain’s energy networks in a multi-billion pound power-grab modelled on the nationalisation of Northern Rock.

A leaked Labour party document has revealed plans for a swift and sweeping renationalisation of the country’s £62bn energy networks at a price decided by Parliament.

The blueprint, seen by the Telegraph, lays bare for the first time Mr Corbyn’s plan to bring all energy network companies under public ownership “immediately” following a Labour election win.

The party is planning to employ the same legislative tools used to nationalise Northern Rock in order to justify naming its own price for the companies.

Nationalising them? Well, silly idea, obviously. But at below market price? Stealing them? And how are they going to use the NR tactics?

That depended upon the BoE not offering liquidity support so therefore it was bust. Now, maybe BoE was instructed not to offer liquidity but still. In that circumstance it was actually bust.

What would be – what could be – the equivalent tactic? Announce they’re going to buy them at £x, watch the price fall to price £x and announce that’s market price?

Unfortunately I’m too cheap to pay for either the Telegraph or FT where this is explained.