Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Life of Pi" unplugged: A test of animals & actors

From Bengal tigers to unproven actors, Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" pushes the limits of book-to-film adaptations. WSJ Off Duty talks to one of the stars, actor Irrfan Khan, and takes a look back at famous animals in movies. Plus, WSJ Film Critic, Joe Morgenstern, reveals his picks for most "inspired" and "idiotic" film adaptations. With host Wendy Bounds.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ireland Unemployment: 188,000 unemployed continuously for 12 months or more in Oct 2012

Ireland Unemployment: 188,000 were unemployed continuously for 12 months or more in Oct 2012.

The following was a contribution to a thread on the Irish Economy blog:

As regards the lack of part time data on public sector staff, it maybe be a state secret to avoid a focus on full time equivalent numbers — down 5,406 since 2007 - - which looks less impressive than the claimed reduction in numbers.

Wonder how many former staff have been given nixers as consultants?

The Irish Times reported on Saturday on the bonanza for the former head of Aer Rianta International, the DDA (Dublin Airport Authority) unit.

“exit package comprised a lump sum of €437,000 and a payment of €68,000 annually for 6.3 years to bridge the gap to retirement.

The DAA confirmed yesterday that Mr Foley now worked as a paid external consultant with ARI and served on the boards of certain subsidiaries.

People who want to retire should be left go with no strings attached.

Have your cake and eat it elsewhere! The country is banjaxed!

“The graveyards are full of indispensable men,” is a quote attributed to General Charles De Gaulle.

The Wall Street Journal reports today:

When Samuel J. Palmisano retires next month, he’ll enjoy a generous goodbye present: The former IBM chief will earn $20,000 for any day he spends four hours advising his longtime employer.

That means hypothetically he could pocket $400,000 a year for 20 half-days of work—twice what his predecessor, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., makes per day under a similar consulting arrangement. Mr. Palmisano’s contract is open-ended and doesn’t specify the number of days he will work. Mr. Gerstner’s 10-year consulting contract expires in March.

This is simply a shakedown for the super-rich.

As regards the Irish self-employed, many are freelancers, not by choice and of course, they lack political clout.

Modern work……

Apple the most valuable company in the world has the best of both worlds — Foxconn’s battery-hen army in China costing as little to assemble an iPhone 5 ($8) as it recently forced HTC of Taiwan to pay per smartphone sold in respect of disputed patents and another army of apps developers lured by the prospect of winning a lottery but slaving for very little return — even for those who earn a few crumbs, Apple takes 30%:


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Irish average earnings fell to €35,905 in 2011

Average annual earnings fell to €35,905 in 2011 from €36,117 in 2010, a decrease of 0.6%. This compares with a revised fall of 1.9% between 2010 and 2009, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Irish Economy: Average annual earnings at €35,905 in 2011

The comment below was made on a thread on the Irish Economy blog:

In 2001 the Exchequer net pay and pensions bill (ex local authorities) was €10.2bn; it was €16.2bn in 2006 (the peak year of the bubble); €17.6bn in 2007; €18.7 in 2008 and is estimated to be €16.9bn in 2012.

These figures are net of pension contributions (normal and emergency).

So to compare with 2007 when it was clear to those of us who weren’t afflicted with Walter Mitty syndrome, that the game was up, there is a saving of €700m. However, we don’t know how much the current cost of the €1.5bn in allowances has risen in the period.

Let’s say €300m. That leaves €400m and then just note that in 2009, the State assumed direct responsibility (a bail-in or bail-out?) for the Trinity College pensions’ deficit of €315m!

The pay and pensions bill takes 42% of net current spending of €40.5bn which has risen by €3.5bn since 2007.

It’s one of several issues of importance in seeking to develop a sustainable economy.

I do cover the others as well!

I have yet to see a justification for the continuation in modern times, of the 1850s era British Empire guarantee of employment.

Irish Economy 2012: Howlin lauds sham cost savings in Croke Park public service agreement

EU-comparison of labour costs and non-wage costs

Among EU Member States, in 2010 the mean (average) gross annual earnings of full-time employees in enterprises employing ten employees or more were highest in Denmark (€58 840), followed by Luxembourg (€49 316), the Netherlands (€45 215), Ireland (€45 207, in 2009), Belgium (€43 423) and Germany (€ 42 400). On the other hand, the lowest mean gross annual earnings were registered in Romania (€5,891) and Bulgaria (€4,396) – see Table 1.

In 2006, median annual earnings showed a broadly similar ranking across the Member States (see Figure 1), with mean earnings higher than median earnings in 2006 for all countries (as very high earners exert a greater influence on the mean than the median). The proportion of employees considered to be low wage earners in 2006 was highest in Latvia, at 30.9 %, while more than one in four employees were also considered as low wage earners in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania

Eurostat: Wages and labour costs