sábado, 9 de abril de 2011

Milton Friedman, was he as good an economist as we think?

Milton Friedman was born in July 1912 in Brooklyn. He was famous for his theoretical research in economy.  He was called "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it" by The Economist magazine. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was the economical adviser to President Ronald Reagan in the 80’s and many governments used his political philosophy about the government being involved as little as possible in business. Friedman opposed government regulation of many types.
According to “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman was part of the destruction of Argentina’s and Chile’s political and economic system. Milton Friedman’s dream of free capitalism could only be accomplished by the killing of thousands and putting more than one hundred thousand Chileans in jail. He was a good friend to Pinochet. Orlando Letelier (ex-ambassador and economist from Chile) wrote an article for The Nation saying that Milton Friedman was just as guilty as Pinochet for the human rights violations. Letelier was killed less than a month after the article was printed. Three weeks later, Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize for Economics.
Some people think of him as the hero in the economic world, but if you ask any Chilean or Argentinean who disagreed with this type of thinking, they would call Milton Friedman a monster.

miércoles, 6 de abril de 2011

Groupalia, a new way of shopping

Today, in my blog I want to talk about a new form of shopping.
For many years, people have been cutting coupons to save money at the supermarket. Now, an old idea has changed into an intelligent, trendy way of saving money. One of the most popular sites for this type of business is Groupalia.
Groupalia was created in Barcelona in 2009 and it offers discounted services for the particular city where you live. These services include restaurants, hotels and beauty procedures. You can get discounts up to 60%
The way it works:
You see a deal that you like and you pay for it by credit card. Then you get an e-mail, which you print and give to the specific supplier the day you use this discount.  You don’t have to use this discount right away, you can wait up to 12 months.
In its first year of operation, Groupalia received €2,500,000 in funding. The majority of the funding came from Nauta Capital with €805,000 and La Caixa with €250,000. The rest of the funding came from individual investors. Later that same year, Groupalia received another €5,000,000.
Groupalia is a growing business and will soon offer its services in Italy, Brazil and Mexico. This is definitely a company with a future.

lunes, 4 de abril de 2011

Easyjet or Ryanair, which is better?

Easyjet and Ryanair are both low-cost airlines. A low-cost airline means charging for extras like food, priority boarding, choosing a seat, and baggage etc. This makes the price for the flight much cheaper than ordinary airlines. The two most popular low-cost airlines are Easyjet and Ryanair, but which one is better?
In 2010, Ryanair had 72,600,000 passengers and Easyjet had only 48,800,000 passengers. In comparison, British Airways, a normal airline, had 31,800,000 passengers, lower than both.
What passengers hate the most are delays, so who had the most? In 2010, Easyjet had an average of 25 minutes delays and 12% of them were longer than an hour. Ryanair had an average of 12 minutes delays and only 3% were more than an hour.
Now let’s talk about those annoying extra charges. If you are a family flying with Ryanair you could be charged 50€ just for booking the flight. On the other hand, Easyjet charges 7€ booking and another 7€ for credit card transactions.
A typical flight one way from London to Berlin including one piece of checked-in baggage adds up to 130€, but the same flight with Easyjet costs 75€.
The last comparison between these low-cost airlines is the location. Easyjet is located at most central airports, it’s easy to get to and easy to arrive at your destination. Ryanair terminals are at out-of-the-way airports. Just the transportation to terminals outside the city can be quite expensive.
In my opinion, both have some pros and cons, but I personally would choose Easyjet, because of the price and location.

miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2011

Muhammad Yunus Savior or Thief?

Muhammad Yunus was born on 28 June 1940 to a Muslim family in the village of Bathua, India. In 1957, he studied economics at Dhaka University and completed his BA in 1960 and MA in 1961. After receiving his PhD in the United States he had an idea for a new type of government called Gram Sarkar (the village government) in 2003. This created a new layer in the governmental system, but it was found illegal and unconstitutional by the High Court and was ended.
On October 1st 1983 the Grammen Bank was created. The idea was to give small loans to women living in poverty in India. He thought women deserved these loans because unlike men they would spend their money on their businesses and help their families. Until July 2007, Grameen Bank issued US$ 6.38 billion to 7.4 million women. To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of "solidarity groups". Small groups apply together for loans each member of the group is called co-guarantors and make a promise of repayment if one member is not able to. This system created a unified team and was very successful.
In 2006 Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize. His idea has spread all over the world and many countries have followed his example. But in November 2010 things changed, the government turned against Yunus saying that he was a thief and was “sucking blood from the poor”. Finally, in March 2011 he was sacked from his position at Grammen Bank.
There is a lot of controversy about Yunus, some say he is an angel sent from heaven while others say he is the worst type of devil. In my opinion, his ideas were meant to help people, to help his own people to improve their way of life. Why would he create such a phenomenon idea if he had only wanted to steal from the poor?

viernes, 25 de marzo de 2011

Las Arenas, good for the economy?

After eight years of waiting, finally Las Arenas has opened  its doors to the public today. Why did it take so long?
Las Arenas was built in 1900 to be used as a bullring in Plaça Espanya. The popularity of bullfighting in Catalunya decreased and eventually the ring was closed in 1977. It was abandoned and forgotten until 2003 when Richard Rogers Partnership and Alonso-Balaguer Arquitectos Asociados decided to convert the building into a shopping mall. The idea was great, but unfortunately their dream project became a nightmare.
The architects contracted the company Dragados to construct the building, but Dragados stopped working after months without a paycheck and so another company was hired. The crisis caused a huge impact on the construction and nothing was done for over a year. The whole construction process took eight years.
According to catalan law, the façade could not be touched so the architects worked around the façade.
Las Arenas is 90% filled to capacity of its 100,000 squared meters.
There are five floors and parking for 1,250 cars and 500 motorbikes. This space is used for shops such as, Blanco, Desigual, Mango, Sephora, Tous... and also a gym with a spa and a track around the circumference of the ring. There is a supermarket, eight restaurants and 12 cinemas.
Las Arenas is a symbol of economic recuparation for Barcelona. It´s a clear message that the city is getting over the crisis and that investors believe in Barcelona. The construction cost about 70,000,000 euros. The new shopping mall has created over 300 jobs within the mall and has given 800 people work during the construction.