Archive for February, 2008

Feb 29 2008

“Opulent in elegance. Bountiful in spirit”

It’s Friday morning here in Shanghai. My AP students are in the middle of their Macro Unit 2 test on Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply. I’m reading SAS’s weekly Parent Talk newsletter that I handed out to my homeroom this morning, and on the back cover is an advertisement for the housing compound across the street from school, “Rancho Santa Fe”.

I just had to post this to my blog, as I think it captures well the trajectory that rich, suburban, Shanghaites are heading as Shanghai and the other Eastern provinces continue to develop and get rich.

“Success has many stages.

Acquiring a definitive territory counts as the ultimate one.

Embracing the best nature and humanity have to offer.

Rancho Santa Fe Phase 3 is a magnum opus of a villa residence.

Opulent in elegance. Bountiful in spirit.

The grandeur lies not only in heritage, but the entirety of all that is perfect.”

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Happy Friday!

11 responses so far

Feb 28 2008

Question: Why would a firm voluntarily tax its own customers?

Answer: Because sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

Major British retailer Marks & Spencer will charge for plastic bags – International Herald Tribune

More and more firms and governments are seeing the merits of corrective taxes on plastic bags. British retailer Marks and Spencer will voluntarily begin “taxing” its customers who wish to use plastic bags:

Beginning May 6, food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer says it will charge 5 pence (10 US cents, €0.07) per plastic bag.

Marks & Spencer says it hopes the charge will save 280 million bags per year, and income from bags that are sold will go to an environmental charity called Groundwork.

The company said Thursday that it has tested the idea in Northern Ireland and southwestern England, and says it cut bag use by 70 percent.

Now that’s good economics, right out of a principles text: tax the product whose overconsumption creates negative externalities for the environment, and use the revenue earned to support environmental projects in the community. Here’s to Marks and Spencer, a corporation with an environmental conscience!

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35 responses so far

Feb 27 2008

China: formerly the world’s factory, now a nation of consumers…

Economics focus | From Mao to the mall | Economist.comChina - a nation of consumers

China, long acknowledged as the world’s factory, could suffer if falling demand for its exports in the US results in a decline in aggregate demand and GDP here as some economists believe it will. But not all economists agree on the importance of exports to China’s domestic economy:

The increase in net exports (exports minus imports) has never been the main source of China’s growth. It contributed two to three percentage points to annual GDP growth between 2005 and 2007, whereas domestic demand (consumption and investment) added eight to nine percentage points.

But the latest figures show that exports have become even less important as a driver of growth. The World Bank’s latest China Quarterly Update suggests that net exports contributed only 0.4 percentage points to GDP growth in the year to the fourth quarter of 2007 (see left-hand chart). Overall GDP growth slowed only modestly (to 11.2%) because of faster growth in domestic demand, which contributed an impressive 10.8 percentage points.

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27 responses so far

Feb 26 2008

Pepsi RAW – will consumers pay more for a healthier soft drink?

Pepsi Tests ‘Naturally Sourced’ Beverage – Advertising Age – News

Pepsi is just about to launch its first new beverage since 1992.  The drink, called “RAW” will present consumers with a healthier alternative to the artificially flavored soft drinks that dominate the oligopolistic market.

Apple extract, sparkling water, grapes, coffee leaf, raw cane sugar. The list of ingredients sounds like it belongs to a health drink, but those are the components of Pepsi’s newest variant.

Pepsi Raw, being launched in U.K. test markets, is meant to be a more healthful alternative to the traditional cola. A type of Pepsi made from only “naturally sourced” ingredients, it taps into demand for premium, less-processed products.

Sounds great, right? But would you be willing to pay more for a “natural” Pepsi than for the good old fashioned artificially flavored Pepsi and Cokes you grew up with? Pepsi is betting the drink will appeal to young hipsters, and is launching it primarily at clubs and bars in six UK cities to test out the market.

So when can Americans expect to  enjoy the natural goodness of Pepsi RAW? Unfortunately, Pepsi seems to think Americans are a bunch of fat tightwads:

 “It makes sense to launch first in the U.K. because health concerns are a bigger issue there,” Ms. Dornblaser said, adding, “It might not fly as well in the U.S. because of the price.”

Oh, and if you’re too young to remember what Pepsi’s last attempted new product launch was, allow me to jog your memory:

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Hey, I LOVED Crystal Pepsi! So, would you be willing to pay more for a healthier Pepsi?

36 responses so far

Feb 26 2008

The price of a beer in Zimbabwe: $4,813,277 and rising, FAST!

Published by under Inflation

Price of a bottle of beer in Zimbabwe – Worldometers

Check this out… Our favorite African basket-case economy is now experiencing 150,000% inflation! Zimbabwe’s new $10,000,000 bill will buy you two beers.

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32 responses so far

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