Thursday, 25 December 2008

The Value of Brands

What are the real values of the brands that businesses spend so much to build? Do they have tangible values that can be bought and sold, or are they more closely tied to actual products so that they can disappear overnight if product quality diminishes?

In recent years there has been great focus on building brands and rating their values, but, like the sub-prime loan debacle, is this another case of assigning tenuous values to dubious qualities that could disappear overnight?,0

Friday, 19 December 2008

European Opposition to the US Auto "bridge loan"

European automakers seem to view the US governments "bridge loan" to US automakers as an unfair subsidy to bolster competitiveness.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Obesity Tax?

Interesting article by NY Governor David Paterson about childhood obesity. He wants to treat unhealthy food as any other consumable product and tax the hell out of it. yay for economics. How will food/beverage companies react? How will consumers, especially the poor, react?

I'm especially concerned given the current debate of nationalized health care. I fear that future health care costs in the US will be significantly higher than they are today because of our unhealthy eating habits, and I wonder if proponents of 'universal health care' have accounted for these additional costs? Should healthy tax payers fund the by-pass surgery of a citizen who knowingly eats unhealthy food?

In the current US insurance system, unhealthy citizens (ie, tobacco users) pay a higher insurance cost to compensate for the additional problems they will inevitably encounter.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

John Bird, Founder of the Big Issue

Good talk on social entrepreneurship.

Obama's team of centrist rivals...

...Jim Jones, Hilary Clinton, Rahm Emmanuel, Eric Shinseki, Larry Summers, etc. Recipe for success or disaster? And does he risk losing the left wing of the democratic party?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Napoleon Dynamite Problem

Remember that PMP on prize money? This contest "has galvanized nerds around the world." Predicting human behavior...

Does the free market corrode moral character

Not sure if you've been following the 'big questions' conversation in The Economist and Foreign Affairs magazines, but the Templeton foundation will be hosting a webcast with 3 of the contributors on Wednesday, Dec 3 at 19:00 GMT.

About the Speakers

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor of economics and law at Columbia University, senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of In Defense of Globalization. He writes widely on public policy and international trade.

John Gray is emeritus professor at the London School of Economics. Among his recent books are False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (Granta) and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (Penguin).

Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French philosopher, has written more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller American Vertigo (2006) and, most recently, Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008), both published by Random House.