466 posts • joined Tuesday 12th February 2008 16:05 GMT
it's not admin costs
Facebook Irish company I did not pay over 1.75 billion in admin costs to Facebook Irish company 2. It was royalties for the use of the Facebook name and technology.
"But the method could soon be stamped out by bringing an end to "stateless companies" in Ireland, it's been reported."
Not so much. It's Apple that has a company with no tax domicile in its Double Irish structure. Facebook does not. Facebook Irish company 2 is tax domiciled in the Caymans. So cracking down on companies with no tax domicile won't make any difference to Facebook.
25 years ago I did some phone work for Dell as a contractor in the UK. And it was exactly the same then.
Mebbe......I'm currently trawling the waste ponds of a uranium processor for stuff so city dumps look quite attractive really.
From the paper:
"It thus appears that society will need to pay more attention to
the acquisition and maintenance of nonrenewable resources than
has been the case in the past. Growing populations, growing
affluence, and the materials diversity of modern technologies are
straining the resource capacities on which we draw. The situation
need not inspire panic, but should instead stimulate more diligent
and more comprehensive approaches to the balance between
supply and demand across the entire periodic table."
As above, they don't seem to understand that there isn't any shortage of these various metals or ores so no, we don't have any supply constraints.
My favourite example is from an old story in New Scientist. They stated that world reserves of hafnium would run out in 2017. They entirely failed to understand that we only produce Hf when we want nuclear grade zirconium. So, we end up with some 500 tonnes or so a year of Hf floating around. The other 24,000 tonnes available to us in the non-nuclear grade Zr we use each year is just never processed out. And there's tens of thousands of years' worth of Zr ores floating about.
Re: @Tim @Tim Worstal
The 100,000 comes from the Hyperios guy mentioned in the piece.
"but is there any harm in trying to move, be it so slightly, the bell curve of decency just a touch to the better?"
Yup, great. With two provisos.
1) Needs to be voluntary. You might be willing to spend $32 on this. Many others would not be. Like, for example, that poor woman in Tanzania who is using a $10 feature phone. So, it must indeed be voluntary.
2) It must be efficient. It must solve the problem at the least expenditure of resources possible. Because if we use resources efficiently then we still have resources left over to try and solve other problems at the same time.
Industry initiative is here:
As I propose, concentrating upon the smelters, not all 6,000 listed US companies.
And the reason to use the penny per phone as against the $4 billion? Because it was the penny per phone that was used to sell the idea to us. That's what the Enough Project was saying three and four years back. We can solve this conflict minerals problem for that sum.
Now that it's actually law how much does the SEC tell us it is costing? $4 billion. That's why the two figures are contrasted with each other. One was the number used to sell us the program. The other is the real cost.
Re: Doomed to fail
"And, of course, how long will it take a black-market, illegal, polluting,12th supplier to appear operating inside one of the conflict zones, shipping their product out through a corrupt middleman who relabels it as good?"
Most unlikely to happen with tantalum. It will happen, is happening, with gold. For there are tens of thousands of places around the world where you can turn up with some gold and get paid cash for it. Refining tantalite is a little bit more difficult. You need tanker loads of HF for example. The sort of thing that will immediately kill anyone trying to do anything in a low tech manner.
"By the way, just out of curiosity, what's the value of your life? How much is an equitable amount to ask society to protect it from exploitation, harm and an untimely end?"
The British Government currently values it at £2 and a bit million. Because that's the amount they're willing to spend on, say, preventing a death by increasing the safety measures on the railways.
Of course, the NHS values it rather more lowly. The maximum they'll spend on a treatment to keep me alive for a year, if I were to be struck down by some horrible illness, is £30 k for the drugs. Get a disease that costs more than that and NICE tells us we're shit out of luck.
The bit that you seem to be missing is that our entire society is permeated with these calculations of how much a life is worth. Has to be as well, for without such a calculation we've no idea at all about how to allocate resources. Spend £20 million on saving the darlin' babby from some cancer? Or do 5,000 hip transplants? Which produces greater utility from our scarce resources?
"So just exactly what is the cash sum value of a human life?"
Of one? Impossible to say. The statistical value of a life? Depends upon what value the people in that society put on a life. Usual number for the US is about $5 million, for the UK £2 and a bit million. It's very, very much lower in much poorer countries of course.
No, not because poor people are worth less. But because poor people themselves value their own lives less highly.
For how we work this out is we look at the amount of money people demand for taking certain risks. What is the wage premium for a job that is known to be more dangerous than others for example? From that we work backwards to that statistical valuation of a life. And yes, obviously and clearly poor people will take greater risks for the same amount of money than those of us blessed to be born into a rich country would.
So, that's how we work it out.
"I would surely love it if we could get the kind of international cooperation together required to have all the refineries and all the chip spinners do their part and turn Billions of dollars of regulatory cost into a meager few million in externally-monitored self regulation.
Unfortunately, we have no way to compel many of these companies to agree to such a scheme or to enforce their compliance."
Strange that. For the electronics industry does have a scheme that does exactly this. And it works too: as I predicted some years ago it would. Because it's designed by people who know what the fuck they're doing.
"I will gladly pay an additional $32 per device to ensure my widgets are sourced from conflict-free sources. Frankly, I'm fucking appalled that there are people who wouldn't. I am ashamed to be a member of the same species as those individuals and I consider anyone who finds that "too much to pay" as no different in my mind from the bastards perpetuating these horrific crimes: both groups view the life and suffering of another sapient being as irrelevant to their own selfish, petty desires."
Great, you do so. Others might not share your views so why should they have to pay the price premium you are willing to pay?
And of a great deal more interest of course is that is spending $4 billion this way (recall, it doesn't stop anyone using conflict minerals. It only says that they must say if they are: which isn't going to budge that many consumers in China, is it?) the best way of stopping the problem? Perhaps spending $4 billion on sending the US Marines in to kill the fuckers would work better? Perhaps the $10 million industry plan would work just as well? Which is, of course, why you do cost benefit analyses. So that you can work out what is the best way of doing something.
For of course, if we can solve the problem for $10 million instead of $4 billion then that gives is $3.9 billion to spend on something else. I dunno, and education or health care system for Eastern Congo sounds like a better use of that sort of money that a bureaucratic fucking paper chase, doesn't it?
Re: Doomed to fail
No, no isotopic difference in the Ta. But the various ores all have very different trace elements in them. You can tell where an ore is from by reference to the database of those trace elements (which has been prepared by BGR, the German geological survey. Nice bunch of blokes, have been very helpful to me).
So, given that all 11 of the plants that can process tantalite will be testing their ores (because you pay for the ore on the percentage of Ta contained, meaning that obviously you've got to test it to make sure of that percentage) all we need to do is check that testing against the database......
Re: Usual problem ?
I've had a long conversation with another group in this field who are proposing regulations for the EU along the same lines.
I asked two questions (among many others).
1) What will be thew costs of your proposed regulations?
2) What will be the benefits expressed again as a cash sum?
The response I got was that it wasn't their job to do cost benefit analyses.
It was about then that I started to get very angry with them. WTF do you mean you don't know whether there will be a net benefit from these proposals of yours?
Re: We really need evidence.
"I think it very unlikely that a society *with* patents and copyrights would have a chance competing against a society without them."
We've an interesting example of that going on right now. India almost never observes copyright and China rarely either copyright or patents. They are significantly poorer than we are although growing faster.
The usual economic argument deployed is that a society will ignore foreigners' IP for as long as there's no serious domestic sources wanting to have their own IP protected domestically.
Indeed, I've often argued (elsewhere) that we should simply ignore IP violations in poor countries. No, not on their exports to us, but in their domestic economy? Meh: it's a problem that will solve itself over time. So I'm generally against TRIPS and so on, that tries to enforce IP in trade treaties.
Sightly strange complaint
"A case in point being the US, where the absence of public health-care,"
The US actually spends some 8 or 9 % of GDP on public health care. About the same portion as we were paying on the NHS back in 2001/02 sort of era.
The major complaint in the US is actually that they spend so much tax cash on public health and don't seem to get anything like the NHS for it.
BTW, I'm not a defender of the US health care system as it is, I would certainly recommend radical change in it. Just not in hte direction they are changing it.
The Italians are claiming that the profits in Ireland should be taxed in Italy.
They can claim this all they want. For EU law states that those profits should be taxed in Ireland at whatever rate Ireland decides to tax them.
It's simply nothing at all to do with the Italian tax system.
Mebbe it shouldn't be this way but it is.
One type of lightbulbs already does sometimes. Metal halide bulbs.
Pretty niche but it does happen.
That's an excellent point. Thanks for making it.
Ta v much, most kind of you to say so.
I shall be around the back polishing my ego while on speed dial to El Supremo asking for a pay rise.....
Makes the old mantra seem truer than ever
Never, ever, upgrade to version x.0 of anything at all.
Re: Coding's an essential life skill
" And without understanding some elementary programming principles, you can't do much more in Excel than your daily expenses."
I can't even do that in Excel. Life doesn't seem to have ground to a halt as a result.
What seems to be being missed in general here is the value of the division and specialisation of labour.
It's simply not necessary for everyone to know how to code (or program for those making the distinction) any more than it is for everyone to know how to mine for scandium or to write Telegraph OpEds.
We only need enough people to have these skills to supply the desires of everyone for those outputs.
I can see the value of people being exposed to all of these opportunities as children but on the strict understanding that those who burst into tears at the very thought of programming (or scandium or the Telegraph) don't have to do it anymore.
I have entirely no clue at all about any of those things: although I do know that the readership of this site contains many who do and thus I can go off and think about Sc and bemoan having been fired by the Telegraph.
And as to Excel: no, really, how do you do anything at all in that?
Re: Unwarranted conclusion @Tim Worstal
I did in fact mention that you could short housing finance but not housing itself......
Re: Unwarranted conclusion
"I don't know if it's true across the pond, but here, if one does trade on information not generally available, it's called insider trading and is illegal"
Not quite true. You are absolutely allowed to trade on private information. For example, imagine that there was a publicly listed scandium mining company out there. There isn't, but just imagine there was. And then I knew that there was a new supplier coming to market. Me for example. In vast quantities, which will make the Sc price crumble. To below the price at which that listed company can make a profit.
Am I allowed to trade on that information? To short sell the stock of that listed Sc miner?
You bet I am. As much as I want to. I can trade on private information.
Now, change the situation a bit. Imagine you are the manager of that listed Sc company. And you find out about my new production process. You know your internal production costs and you know that my new production is going to bankrupt your company.
Are you allowed to trade on that private information? No, you're not. Because you have a fiduciary duty to your shareholders for the first reason and secondly, because you are using your own internal company information to trade in your own company's shares.
It's only certain sets of private information held by certain people that cannot be traded upon. Private information in general may be.
Re: Shiller - quite!
Re VAT. Financial transactions are outside VAT, this is true. And there have been suggestions to bring them inside it. The problem with this is that they would then be able to reclaim the VAT on their inputs. And the general feeling is (although I've not seen or done the calculations myself) that this would result in negative revenue collected.
And of course it would be interesting to see the reaction people have to paying VAT on their mortgage interest....
As soon as you start reading their background papers their reasoning becomes more clear. Believe me, it's in there that too much trading is a bad thing.
Re: A question....
The UK's Stamp Duty has that effect as well. Lowers returns to pensions savers.
Re: I have a related question
Tobin wasn't trying to stop overshoots in speculation. Rather, he was in a fixed exchange rate world and he wanted to lower the power the markets had over governments in such a fixed rate world. He was talking purely about FX in a world where FX rates were fixed. That's a very, very, different thing.
Tobin himself towards the end of his life used to get very angry at the people who were asking for a Tobin Tax on all markets. That wasn't his point at all.
As I said in that published paper
The revenue raised would be negative. Even by the calculations of the EU itself.
One effect of the tax would be that GDP in the future would be around 2% lower than it would have been in the absence of the tax. European economies are, roughly, at the margin 50% tax. Raise GDP by £1 there will be an extra 50p in tax. Lower it and tax collected falls by 50p. So, the revenue loss from the smaller GDP would be 1% of GDP.
Roughly you understand.
The actual revenue from the tax itself is calculated at 0.1% of GDP. Thus the net revenue take is minus 0.9% of GDP.
The costs of economic activity that does not happen is therefore much higher than the revenue, leading to a net revenue loss.
Interestingly, this is all rather based on hte work of Sir John Mirlees, an earlier Nobel Laureate for his work on taxation systems. He is adamant that transaction taxes are really, really, bad taxes.
It's management that needs to read this
For as the piece doesn't emphasise quite enough those with Aspergers' can indeed turn out to be the most useful (and thus profitable) employees even is sometimes somewhat socially maladroit.
It's the old round peg and round hole thing again: and if management isn't actually taking into consideration the personality of the people working for them and then matching that personality to management style then WTF are they doing?
They're supposed to be managers after all.
Re: RE: Thorium and inefficient solar power?
Well, yeah, sorta.
Spoke to them a couple of weeks back and they're nowhere near anything other than playing with test tubes. They actually said that the positive price of Th was more likely to be something to do with the Russians, Indians or Chinese....
But I do say exactly this:
"If you want to bring the money in to pay shareholders, have the goddamned testicular fortitude to say so."
I'm all over Forbes as having said exactly that. Ship the money to shareholders as dividends. They will either spend it (Hurrah! A fiscal stimulus. And actually, one larger than the one Obama did) or they will reinvest it elsewhere. Which is a boost to US domestic investment: and at least some of that will be in the new companies which are what actually drive employment growth.
I specifically and directly state that they should lower or abolish that tax on foreign profits (actually, I argue that we should abolish corp tax altogether and just tax capital gains and dividends as normal income) precisely so that the cash gets paid out to shareholders.
"The 2004 Homeland Investment Act was signed off by President Bush as a one-off deal that would allow firms to repatriate funds with a tiny tax bite, again with the argument that it would stimulate employment, but the vast majority of the $362bn that came into the country was used to pay off shareholders"
But, err, that's what companies are for. To make money for the shareholders.
Re: Thorium reactors and A-bombs.
Could be: "My opinion is that the other uses of thorium are raising the price"
Although it's very difficult to think of what they might be. And I speak as someone who has actually sold thorium in the past. That sale price being the cost of the paperwork plus a margin, the metal itself was essentially free.
There are a couple of pounds a year used in the metal halide lighting industry. The gas lamp mantles stopped using it (in the western world at least) a couple of decades ago. Last I looked the US market for thorium was $300,000 a year (yes, three hundred thousand dollars) which is basically nothing.
Re: Slightly fruity comparison
Not really: you piss out the K-40 over time so it does pretty much end up in the oceans.....
Re: Storing H2 is not a problem
This is why if you do go H2 it needs to be distributed and local as a system. Girt great pipelines around the place will fail. And also hte H2 has a way of simply passing through the steel itself and escaping.
Re: Solar must be reaching some level of profitability
" there's another article for Tim: find something good in Milliband's proposal."
Blimey. So far that article would read " ". I can't see anything sensible in it let alone good.
What's truly lovely about it
Is why the extra days off were granted.
Way back when screen users were advised to have a 15 minute break every two hours. Rest your eye sort of stuff.
The Greeks looked at this and changed it to an extra day off every two months. Not really solving the problem of eye strain really.
Re: further reading
Yes, Russell's good on this. But I didn't want to overburden the piece with references.
"We didn't eat pre-processed meals as a matter of course. Chocolate and such like were treats and not hourly snacks. We consumed less alcohol per head."
You might want to check your Orwell on the working class diet pre-WWII. Even more shitty than it is now in fact. And 19 th cent, dear God it was awful: and alcohol per head was higher than today (BTW, did you know that alcohol consumption has been falling recently?).
It really wasn't all that long ago that white, processed, bread (they bought it by the gallon loaf!) was the majority of calories for the average working man. If not that, then potatoes. Within the lifetime of my great grandfather, certainly.
There may well be people eating what we , today, do not consider a healthy diet. But damn even that shite of frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets beats the average diet of a century ago (OK, maybe 150 years ago).
Re: A robot that can make other robots.
"I'll not argue with a well trained economist,"
Please note that I do not claim to be an economist. Informed on the subject, yes. But no advanced degree in the subject and I've never been employed as an economist.
Re: Often, the solution offered is that we should therefore tax capital more
"What we need to do is raise the tax entry level above the minimum wage."
Something that I have been shouting about for years elsewhere in my more formal economic writing. Managed to persuade two political parties to get it into their manifesto so far. Only two more to go. Even managed to get Oxfam to agree to it once.
Re: Not going to happen
"That assumes that desire for more is finite."
Economics does assume that the desire for more is infinite. But it also assumes that the desire for any particular thing can be satiated. There's only so many apples that one human being is going to desire.
So we're not going to satiate all desires, no. And given that human beings are status seeking creatures it'll be positional goods (ie, those that are limited by definition, beach houses in Malibu, and which confer status by their possession) that the demand for cannot be satiated.
But food, clothing, housing, electronic tat, all the non-positional goods, the desire for these can indeed be satiated. Which is rather what Keynes and Marx (and Veblen etc) were talking about with the problem of scarcity.
Re: Free time! And then what?
"We also earn a status from being in work,"
True that we currently do. But there have been human societies where status was determined by how religious you were. how much land you owned, how good you were at chopping someone's head off, which vagina you popped out of.
That there will always be status games in a human society is clearly true. But there's no particular reason why status has to be determined by job.
" costs to the consumer are remarkably similar over the whole country"
There's a slight problem with this observation. Which is that the appearance of prices will be the same whether we've a monopoly, an oligopoly or a free market. All three will provide the same pattern of prices, remarkably similar for the same goods across the economy.
So we can't look at prices being the same and assume that we've got any one of the three.
We can however look at returns to capital to decide which of the three we've got. Monopoly and oligopoly should provide higher returns to capital than a free market would.
Current costs of capital for, say, a mobile phone airtime provider, are around 9%. The actual returns to capital they're making are around 7% (on average, across the various companies). That's a free market result, not an oligopoly or monopoly one.
BTW, "free market" as in being entirely and wholly free doesn't exist and never will. We're always talking about tendency to be freer or less free.
That the approval was of TD-SCDMA capable iPhone 5s and 5c. Plus TD-LTE.
And they appear to have different Apple model numbers than the ones announced.
Quite what's going on no one's sure. But one guess is that Apple has them ready but didn't quite seal the deal with China Mobile
Re: Whats with the MOS bashing?
""Spotify pays artists as little as 0.4p per stream, which means that a song that had a million plays would earn its performer just £4,000.""
True, and if the same recording of the same song is played on Radio 1 to 1 million listeners it earns the artist £50.
Difficult to see that Spotify is underpaying.
Re: Eh? Selling shares in Verizon in exchange for shares in Verizon
They're swapping shares in the Verizon Wireless business for shares in the total Verizon business. That total business is listed, so they can sell them to the market whenever they want.
Re the no tax being paid. Yes, SSE so no tax in the UK. Thank Gordon Brown for that one.
If the story's true
Then undoubtedly those tapes exist on a bit torrent somewhere.
Might even be worth finding it.
That tax thing
Why would there be any tax at all? SSE: substantial shareholder exemption. You don't pay tax on selling a subsidiary.
Re: >"Vodafone insisted it was fully compliant with existing tax laws"
Vodafone made money by selling phones in Germany to Germans. Then stashed the money in Luxembourg. The question then becomes, is this profit taxable in the UK? UK law (controlled foreign . companies, or CFC) said yes. EU law said no. EU law beats UK law: therefore not taxable in the UK.
So ,what was that settlement for £1.25 billion?
Well, everyone agrees that when you move those profits out of Luxembourg and into the UK in order to pay a dividend then UK tax is applicalbe. Full UK rate minus whatever has already been paid in foreign.
Wat did Vodafone do? Bring some of the profits back in order to pay a dividend. Thus paid UK tax. This is why the tax payments were over two years: because they brought the money back in stages.
There never was a £6 billion tax bill. Private Eye made it up entirely (yes, I have indeed had correspondence with Richard Brooks, the PE journo and it really is true. They calculated that tax bill as if the law was different. But the law ain't different).
There just wasn't a Voda deal with Hartnett or anyone else. There was just the application of the law as it is written.
Godlman Sachs? Yes, that was a deal. But Voda just not.
This bit ain't true either
"China claims it has more rare earths in the ground than any other nation"
It's got more reserves than anyone else, that's true. But a reserve is a deposit that has been drilled, measured, weighed, a fluffy cake baked out of it and we know that we can extract the minerals using current technology at current prices and still make a profit.
A mineral resource is where we're pretty sure all of those things are true but we haven't actually proven it (ie, not baked the cake yet).
More rare earths in the ground is a measure of total availability.
China has more reserves because it's done more cake baking than anyone else. It's got a good chunk of the mineral resources as well for the same reason, it;s looked harder than most others.
Total availability? Rare earths are so common (most, individually, more common than copper) that it's share of that is going to be around and about its share of the land surface of the globe.
10% of the population having a mobile phone adds 0.5% of the growth rate in GDP per year. That's in a country without a landline network.
We also know that broadband increases the growth rate even where there is a landline network.
Therefore we might assume that mobile broadband will increase the growth rate.
Which is a pretty good thing in a place where there's hundreds of millions of poor people.
Re: Laffer Curve too simple
"the tax brackets don't keep pace with inflation"
Known, technically, as "fiscal drag".
BTW, the number of people paying that top US income tax rate way back was "1".
John D Rockefeller.