The Knowledge Economy and Tax Breaks

It used to be that tax breaks were used to encourage foreign investment and so help job creation. According to the various anti-globalisation tracts like No Logo, it is used by manufacturing companies such as Ford and Nike to transfer the social cost of manufacturing on to a country whilst little to enrich their employees. Business and money flows around the world to maximise these tax loopholes.

It seems that Microsoft and Google have been taking advantage of Ireland’s low corporate tax threshold as a tax avoidance technique for their European operations. On the back of this Ireland has developed an ‘industry’ based around providing treasury functions to large businesses and financial institutions. The Irish Emigrant as more here.

Ireland has had a relatively successful history in using tax as a driver of economic growth. Coming from third-world status to first world status in my life time.

Over at Slate the Hollywood Economist column highlights how the big US studios used German tax breaks designed to promote the German culture. The tax breaks had been used by the Hollywood studios to further tighten their grip on the German film market and provided no discernable benefit in terms of German jobs, enriching German culture or economic activity.

New Line Cinema and Paramount’s conduct is described in as distasteful a way as to put them in the primordial swamp of bad corporate citizenship usually inhabited by the tabacco, mining, oil companies and Nike.

Seems like Germany could learn a thing or two from China in dealing with foreign intellectual property rights.

Maharishi Sale


Maharishi Sale
Originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

Expensive streetwear brand Maharishi have a sale in Brick Lane next week.

Scuttling the Pirate Ship

I have just come back from a dinner with some former colleagues to celebrate the end of an era. One of the former agencies that I worked at is winding up at the end of the month.

We took the time to remember clients, work done and the small dramas that made up our time working together. Photos from the wake can be found here.

3Com gets nostalgic for the old days

 I had the pleasure of cutting my teeth on 3Com when I moved career to PR in the late 1990s. I remember how it rebranded with the rings logo (that I still don’t get) and shed parts of its business like a serpent shedding its skin.I worked on Palm and CommWorks to name but two of the brands. Unfortunately the company had some problems despite its innovation in consumer networking and PDAs.

3Com was a technology conglomerate, not a technology company; while Cisco prided itself on the speed of assimilating newly acquired companies into the firm, within 48 days of purchase. 3Com on the other hand often competed against itself rather than the hypercompetitive Cisco.

A couple of cases in point, Audrey the internet appliance used an OS from QNX, rather than the PalmOS and despite being a technology licencee and shareholder in TopLayer Networks decided to acquire TippingPoint instead. The world has moved on, the Chinese are building good core network technology and Cisco is moving to higher value software; 3Com is very much the junior partner with Huawei. PR Week has news of 3Com looking to rebrand yet again and try to reclaim its challenger status in the corporate IT marketplace. I hope that they will be successful, but fear that they won’t.

Miscellaneous modern culture artifacts

Recycling the past seems to be the big news in dance music at the moment. A series of Todd Terry classics have been re-released, my recommendation is the remix of The Texican on the flipside of Orange Lemon’s Dreams of Santa Ana.

E2 E4 by Manuel Goettsching was a 60 minute piece of modern composition that got cult status from the early house and Ibiza DJs who threw everything in the mix if it worked; Prins Thomas captures the essence of it so that you don’t have to hunt down a rare as rocking horse sh!t original copy and then sit through a mindnumbing 28 minutes a side.

Pink Floyd’s Welcome To The Machine gets turned from pretentious rock meister werk to dancefloor monster by the Dirty Funkers with the help of a fistful of acid sounds and a 909 kick-drum. Pete Heller’s Timewarp sounds familar but at the same time is new, go for the dub mix.

A couple of classics from Zoo magazine, first up their tips for modern living: how to fold a t-shirt shop assistant style and tips on getting the most out of your order at Subway – by saying the name of each ingredient with the air of finality as if it is the last ingredient that you will ask for so that the server will pile plenty of stuff on.

Living parody Tim ‘Holla’ Westwood’s Pimp My Bride column in Zoo had me rolling around the supermarket aisle of Budgens laughing at his reviews of reader submitted snaps of young ladies and his agony aunt column. Just to give you a flava (sic) here’s a quote from the Westwood translator at the bottom of the page

  • “Gorilla pimpin’ (noun) A display of bestial or atavistic sexual aggression, most commonly directed towards a ‘shorty'”
  • “Shorty (noun) Desired female sexual partner. Contrary to the epithet’s connotations, she need not be deminitive in stature”

Just what we need: a middle-aged son of an anglican bishop being a role model for young chavs to smack their b*tch up.

This advice seems to run contrary to Tim wearing his agony aunt hat:
“Being drunk is some dumb sh!t. To get a girl you’ve got to have some game, some swagger, some bounce. Get your flow on, do you, be yourself – that’s all you need. What you scared of – failing? So what? What have you got to lose? At least you tried and you won’t torment yourself and be thinking about it next day. If there’s a girl you like, go kick it with her. And if she disses you , you’re better off without that b*tch. Just be respectful, confident and kick your game.”