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1) Aviva Mistakenly Fires 1,300 Employees at Investment Unit (Bloomberg) - DOH! I thought I'd start this week's Bonus Bananas off with a little comedy; at least it's comedy in retrospect. Massive UK insurer Aviva mistakenly fired the company's entire investment unit by email when the email in question was meant for only one person at the firm. Sorry guys, all a big mistake. No, not you Bob. You're still fired.

2) Why Wall Street execs want to silence their shareholders (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) - It's no secret that Say-On-Pay is unpopular with Wall Street CEO's, but I don't think an argument can be made that shareholders in a company shouldn't have some say over what their employees are paid. And the Republican argument that allowing shareholders to have a non-binding vote on the compensation practices of the shareholders' companies is government interference is absolutely laughable.

3) The Road to Crowdfunding Hell (Harvard Business Review) - It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the recently passed JOBS Act and that I expect it to do great things for the US economy. In the interest of fairness, however, I wanted to post an opposing view and of all the opposing views I've read, this one is the best.

4) Inside Harvard B-school's startup boot camp (CNN Money) - While we're on the subject of Harvard and start-ups, 150 MBA teams at Harvard Business School were given $3,000 and tasked with starting a viable business. Harvard then created a mock stock market for the start-ups, which quickly determined which ideas were the best. Very interesting stuff here.

5) Infographic: The United States of Student Debt (Mint) - We all know student debt is way out of hand and is likely the next bubble to burst. This scary infographic breaks it all down for you. The scariest thing for me is the fact that there is $870 billion in loans out there and over $85 billion is already delinquent. Yikes.

6) A Primer on Peak Oil (EconoMonitor) - I thought I'd throw IlliniProgrammer a bone with this one. Peak oil is back in the news and here's a great piece explaining the theory. It's always seemed like common sense to me: hell, they aren't making any more dinosaurs and we don't have another 100 million years to wait around for them to turn into oil even if they were. But I'm probably missing some of the nuance.

7) Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman (Rolling Stone) - This one is almost too easy for Matt Taibbi. He makes the point that authorities were too slow to act in the MF Global debacle, and Corzine hasn't even been arrested yet. It is pretty amazing what a good spin doctor can accomplish. Cut and dried theft has suddenly become "chaos".

8) As Stock Continues Dive to All-Time Lows, Can Groupon Regain Investor Confidence? (All Things D) - Groupon is just one FUGLY deal from start to finish. The stock put in a new low this week, down more than 50% from its November IPO. I'll bet Google is glad Andrew Mason spurned their buyout offer.

9) 'Bump' technology transfers money via smartphones (3 News) - The days of cash money are quickly drawing to a close. It won't be long now before all currency is digital, and "bumping" might be the vanguard. You no longer have to pull out your wallet and handle filthy cash to make purchase, lend your buddy some dough, or pay for a hooker. Just bump smartphones before you bump uglies.

10) How Legalizing Marijuana Could Reduce The Federal Deficit (Puffington Host) - This is another subject about which I'm baffled that there is still any debate. Full disclosure: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a pothead. It just doesn't do anything for me. I am, however, a free human being and anything I choose to ingest is my business and no one else's. But if you need to put a price tag on that freedom, how about an annual savings of almost $14 billion? Can anyone explain to me why weed is still illegal?

The Video of the Week this week spread through the Game Theory crowd like wildfire, mostly because one contestant on this game show game theorys the shit out of his opponent to achieve the optimal end for both of them. If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the strategy used check out Economists Do It With Models. Fascinating stuff if you're a game theory nerd like me.

That's it for this week, guys. Let me know what you think about this week's Bananas in the comments, and have a spectacular weekend.


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Comments (11)

  • Frieds's picture

    To answer number 10 - it comes down to the fact that this is part of Nixonian policy that never was reversed. It will take another 15-20 years for Weed to be legalized I think, but it will produce serious savings.

  • UFOinsider's picture

    Really good stuff, and I've been thinking about some of these topics lately, so:

    I give you a lot of credit for posting #3, and I read this as well. My general take is that they're threatened by this because it's not something they really have a say in at this point: it's the same type of 'economist' that doesn't understand Facebook, cell phones, or digital media in general. The rest are honest but weak reasons, and will likely be overcome as the idea gains more traction. Harvard's editors should really open themselves to this because I'd like to see the best minds working on this, not slaming it because they're outsiders at the moment.

    #2 Clarifies the catchphrase "pro-business". They're not pro-business OR pro-markets. They're "pro-whoever is donating to the campaign and hooking my portfolio up".

    #7 "Muddle the issue" is used with great success in today's politics: Bill O'Reilly is the king of this. I've spent a long time paying attention to the stucture of the 'debates' and the only way to beat this is to stay on topic. By getting completely subjective and then being 'right' on that issue, they change the subject. I know Corzine is connected, but aren't there any strong GOP contenders that want to go after him? Or is that going to hurt their relationship with Wall Street? Being a Dem who fucks the public and becomes political plutonium is the NKI?

    Get busy living

  • SC911's picture

    Clinton was puffin dat...

  • M Friedman's picture

    Haha epic prisoners dilemma, but I dont think they should have been allowed to talk to each other.

  • In reply to M Friedman
    oreos's picture

    M Friedman:
    Haha epic prisoners dilemma, but I dont think they should have been allowed to talk to each other.

    Well that would be a boring show.

    And you'd miss out on such pleas as "I go to church every weekend, I'm a good person, lets split it", "i need the money, my kid is growing a third hand"

    "After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

  • In reply to M Friedman
    happypantsmcgee's picture

    M Friedman:
    Haha epic prisoners dilemma, but I dont think they should have been allowed to talk to each other.

    A huge part of the show is the back and forth at the end...silence would be boring as shit.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • clever_username's picture

    another strat is to randomly pick the balls without looking...better then equilibrium pay-off of zero if they both pick the dominant strategy of {steal, steal}

  • BlackHat's picture

    I hate to be that guy, but was it not painfully obvious to anyone else that the fat guy was only saying that to convince the bald dude to pick Split? The fact that he didn't offer up the opposite (let you win the money then split with me) made it even more obvious. Baldy shoulda stolen the cash for himself.

    I hate victims who respect their executioners

  • In reply to BlackHat
    go.with.the.flow's picture

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