From the comments over at Tim Worstall’s:

I happen to do a little work for a company started by a South African. He bought a British company and pitched up at a board meeting (chaired by a peer) where they were discussing which particular knob should be on the ethics committee or the audit committee. His contribution was “who’s going to be on the fucking profit committee?”

Which serves nicely to illustrate the point I made here.

The Daily Mail has an article on the North Sea drilling rigs that are sitting idle in the Cromarty Firth.  Go and look at the pictures.

Also via Tim Worstall, one Simon Diggins, a failed Labour parliamentary candidate in the last British General Election, writes this in a letter to The Guardian:

I’m sure your readers will have picked up that the 3% tax that Google has apparently paid is the usual extractive industries rate paid to developing countries for their exploitation of those countries’ natural resources.

I sent Mr Diggins an email asking for the source of that 3% figure he is citing as the tax rate on extractive industries in the developing world, but he would not elaborate unless he first got to know me.  Ooh-er, missus.  So I’ll assume he’s plucked it out of his arse.  Here is a list of crude oil royalty rates around the world (hint: it’s higher than 3%).  Page 411 of this .pdf shows a Nigerian profit tax rate of between 65-85%.  Which is why a collapse in the oil price has put Nigeria in so much trouble.  If governments were enjoying a mere 3% rate on oil production, they’d not be as sensitive to fluctuations in the price, would they?

Joanna Lillis has a good article in The Economist regarding the dire state of Kazakhstan’s economy and the collapse of their currency, something which has been somewhat overshadowed by the same problems in neighbouring Russia. Choice quote:

The president keeps chanting an all-in-it-together mantra, but the calls for austerity by this head of a fabulously wealthy clan may wear thin.

Last week I went to another investor conference of a large oil company, similar to the one I wrote about here.  They gave a presentation in which they announced their E&P operations lost almost double-digit billions in 2015 but cheerfully told us that 2016 is expected to see shortfalls of “only” half that assuming the average oil price is $50 for the year.  Heh.  Most of the board was assembled on the stage and took questions from the audience, which they responded to with boilerplate corporate guff which did nothing other than give the impression they are in charge of a giant, rumbling machine, the workings of which they don’t really understand, and desperately pulling on random knobs and levers in the hope things will improve.

“If we just fiddle with that dial at the top…”


One Response to Roundup

  1. Graeme says:

    Diggins also failed to note that the average effrective wage of those Google UK employees was £160k…rather more than the wages paid in Nigeria and Kazakhstan, I would venture to suggest.