Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Less Freedom in Britain

"According the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal's annual Index of Economic Freedom, Britain now ranks as a "mostly free" economy, rather than a "free" one. That's because the UK's scores have worsened in four of the ten economic freedoms measured by the index: trade freedom, monetary freedom, fiscal freedom, and freedom from government. By far the worst scores are in fiscal freedom (where we get 61.2 percent) and in freedom from government (where we score just 40.1 percent). Basically, that means our taxes and public spending have gone up, and we are less economically free as a result."

More here

Monday, January 28, 2008

The real reason behind the anti-obesity campaign

This morning, going to work, I realise why the government is going to spend our taxes on teaching us how to eat "healthy".

It was obvious, press against some dude's belly in this overcrowd coach. It hit me.

The slimmer the people, the more you fit in a coach ! It's a clever solution to solved London train chronic overcrowding !! Make people slimmer.

I think it's great idea, honnest ... Can the government go on diet too? because I think it's using too much of people money for their - people or government? - own good... It might have the stupid idea to pay police men to put people in prison if your not in the standard size next... "Insulting the space of others" that would be

Friday, January 25, 2008


FRIENDS of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel last night blamed his $7 billion losses on unbearable levels of stress brought on by a punishing 30 hour week.

Kerviel hid his November losses in a batch of wonderfully fresh croissantKerviel was known to start work as early as nine in the morning and still be at his desk at five or even five-thirty, often with just an hour and a half for lunch.

One colleague said: "He was, how you say, une workaholique. I have a family and a mistress so I would leave the office at around 2pm at the latest, if I wasn't on strike.

"But Jerome was tied to that desk. One day I came back to the office at 3pm because I had forgotten my stupid little hat, and there he was, fast asleep on the photocopier.

"At first I assumed he had been having sex with it, but then I remembered he'd been working for almost six hours."

As the losses mounted, Kerviel tried to conceal his bad trades by covering them with an intense red wine sauce, later switching to delicate pastry horns.

At one point he managed to dispose of dozens of transactions by hiding them inside vol-au-vent cases and staging a fake reception.

Last night a spokesman for Sócíété Générálé denied that Kerviel was overworked, insisting he lost the money after betting that the French were about to stop being rude, lazy, arrogant bastards.

From the Daily Mash

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A reason not to vote Labour at the next Election

On ID cards :

"Did everyone in Parliament back the plans?

No. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are against the scheme and both say they would scrap it if they win power. The House of Lords also rejected the plans five times, before agreeing on the compromise deal allowing the opt-out from 2008. "

Via bbc

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I'm staying in London

And not returning to Paris.

- It's more open, more tolerant and less conservative than in France.
- The club, bar are places for the people not for an elite.
- The management in companies is better and more relax.
- The state does not steal more than 50% of what I earn - even if it's still far too much -
- The cultural scene is far more dynamic - probably because it's not finance by the state, or not that much -
- The accommodation are good quality and very diversify from a house with garden to a penthouse with view over the Thames
- The disable integration, it does not exist in France.
- obviously the salary but it's mainly due to taxes difference - the bad named charge patronal -
- the common transport, really well integrated to Greater London

What I'm annoyed by
- the hygienist movement
- the local councils which use recycling as an excuse to reduce their expense, they are not responding to the need of the population just promoting at best some ideology
- Ken the red, gonna have to vote for Boris ... great
- The common transport, really expensive and relatively unreliable

It's obviously not exhaustive. But I can't see my self going back to Paris... Maybe another country, but it's quite an hassle to do that.

Disclaimer :
I obvously avoid any personnal matter, just so that the matter in question does not get offended

Who said

"Socialism has not failed, it just has not been tries" ?

Ken Livingstone... worrying ... specially when he praised Chavez after for implementing it.

On Dispatches

Monday, January 21, 2008

Massive losses on the stock market

European Stocks Fall the Most Since 2001; Asian Stocks, U.S. Futures
europe> Stocks plunged in Germany, Hong Kong and India on mounting
speculation that the global economy is slowing and company defaults will

Saturday, January 19, 2008

London suffers most as house prices fall

London was hardest-hit by falling house prices in the final quarter of 2007, a new survey from the Halifax shows today, adding to the gloom in the housing market.

Britain's largest mortgage lender said Greater London led price falls in eight regions across the UK with a hefty drop of 6.3%. This was followed by the south east and east Midlands, which each saw a decrease of 2.3%.

In the Guardian

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The flying castle

I remember last year I was talking with an IT contractor, who was in his spare time investing in some fancy property projects, about the property market. I was arguing that the price will go down and we were heading for a big "correction". He was making the point that it will continue to raise because of the lack of property, immigration etc... I answered by a "but rent are not sky rocketing"...He was convinced and did not want to miss the property cash lottery - apparently all the ticket were winners -.

At the time beginning of 2007, rare were those who were saying that a crash was on its way. 3 month later a acquaintance of mine, a pure bull who was advising me to invest in the property market, told me that she was now thinking properties were not a good investment anymore. The mood started to change ...

It was less than 1 year ago, now everybody agree that it's not going to raise, and few still think that it's going to at worst stagnate...

How can people come to think that a 140% increase since 200 and something was normal? How did people in NI think that 50% increase was sustainable?

Vested Interest, easy lending, fraud. All of that I guess. But now Banks can't lend easy anymore, people are repossessed, and for the lest 3 months prices are going down, even in London - how improbable, remember in December I was in the pub and somebody was saying that it could not fall in London ... -.

What can we say about the future? not much. The doom monger are already singing the end of the world, and the optimist still believe that a house crash is unlikely.

The truth is probably in the middle. I'm convince that house price will go down, my guts tell me a 80% chance of a 40 to 60% fall in real price.
I see 3 reasons for that:
- classic valuation tell us that property are overvalued between least 20% and 40% according to different financial sources. a property is an investment that give you a return the rent. The same way you can compute the price of action base on its dividend, you can compute the fundamental price of flat with its rent.
- the bubble directed a lot of money on the property market. More than what was needed creating an oversupply of flat. Shocking no ? everybody talk about shortage, but there is no shortage otherwise rent would have follow the same path.
- a lot of the east European immigrants are working on the commercial or residential property market. As the property market slowdown, and the commercial one is already crashing, there is less demand for labour, most of them will cash in and go back to their mother country. reducing the demand of flats.

So we have a raising offer and a declining demand, and largely over valued prices, that sounds like a great cocktail for a massive correction.

Will that put the capitalistic system on its knees? I don't think so, it's not the first crisis. If government don't play stupid it should be painful for some but ok.

PS: there is a lot of risk on inflation, and that's kind of scary

a 50% fall cancels a 100% increase
2% fall month to month for 12 months is 21% fall year to year
1% fall month to month for 48 months is 39% fall on the 4 years
I said real price, meaning price adjusting for inflation, I price stagnate that means real price fall at the pace of inflation. At 2% a year - the target -, that's already 10 % - 9.6 to be more precise - on 5 years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

One less to go!

2007 has been an exciting year.

- the credit crunch
- housing recession in the USA
- beginning of the downturn in the UK
- Amy Winehouse is still standing or almost.
- The mighty Boosh is back !
- Global Warming is responsible for my loss of hair
- Brown is heading the same way as the housing market
- Killy is back !
- End of the subprime market

But still no
- Extra-Terrestrial
- End of capitalism
- End to stupidity
- End of Marxism - believe some people still are found of this crap ...

2008 promises to be a really good one too.
What to expect :
- Housing recession in the UK
- Recession in the USA
- Amy going to rehab ?
- France non smoking ?
- a bunch of unfulfilled prediction
- A lot of people asking for more regulation and state intervention

What not to expect :
- Extra-Terrestrial
- End of capitalism
- End to stupidity
- End of Marxism - shit ...-

And Good Luck to those who buy a house in 2007...

To follow the financial/housing/real world crisis

Nouriel Roubini is maybe the only credible loud voice that was right about the downturn in the USA. All the specialist did underestimate the risk in the USA, it is likely that they are also largely underestimate in the UK, get ready for at least going back to 2001 price in real term - not this year, in the next 5 years quite likely- ...