January 14th, 2009

Money

The future that still can't be seen

Should the current recession end, oil prices will almost immediately resume their climb from where they stopped last time. (Unless the recession lasts a couple hundred million years, there will be no new oil in the ground, after all.) What will Detroit do when crude oil is $500 a barrel, presumably in less than 10 years?

Personal genome diagnostics could push back cancer the same way we did with heart infarct, making it reasonably predictable and curable. Alzheimer's is also on the short list. What will happen to pension funds if most people live past 100?

File sharing is making its impact felt on the music industry, movies are starting to feel the heat, and single-player computer games for the PC are less and less viable. With the Internet gradually moving onto mobile devices and becoming an omnipresent peer-to-peer field, the trend is likely to accelerate. Who will make music and movies for the next generation?

How much should we invest in the status quo, given that it will likely only last a few years no matter what?
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WTF, What

That's just plain offensive...

I discovered a bank account yesterday. OK, that is not exactly true: I knew I had it, though I had no idea how much was on it. Not much, I knew, and this turned out to be accurate, at least by Norwegian standards. 747 kroner, or around $100 for comparison. This is an account in Postbanken, formerly Postsparebanken, which was once a kind of public service run by the state-owned post (mail) system, basically one of the many tentacles of government, in days of yore. I got this money from my parents, who were amazingly poor by today's standards, but still managed to put aside a few dollars now and then on a separate account for me. Obviously this is a while ago. There haven't been any movements on this account for 20-30 years.

Glancing at the account summary they are obliged by law to send me after the end of the year, I noticed a tiny amount. Kroner 0.72. What's that? Well, I read on, and eventually find out that the bank now pays 0.1% interest. Uhm, why do you bother? Anyone who has enough money that the interest would be noticeable in any way or form would be utterly insane to not take the money elsewhere. But it does not stop there. Quick, get your calculators! How much is 0.1% of 746? Yes, dear reader. They cheated me on my 1/1000 yearly interest! OH NOES!

Words fail.
Numbers win.

(Incidentally, withdrawing the money costs a bit too. I will have roughly the same amount left as if my beloved parents had put the money in an envelope and written "Money for Magnus" on the outside of it. Except in that case I would probably have bought chocolate for it when I was young. In retrospect, that would probably have been a better idea.)