Business Diary: Frost signs off with broadside
Monday 05 September 2011
So farewell David Frost, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, who stepped down on Friday after eight years in the job. Typically, he didn't go quietly, offering an eight-point diagnosis of broken Britain – including warnings about everything from the country's failing education system to its ongoing inability not to spend more than it earns. We wish him a happier retirement, free from such worries at last.
When the Fleas joined the Pigs
One of the few silver linings of the eurozone crisis cloud is that it has spawned ever-moreimaginative acronyms. Pigs – standing for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain – was good (though less so when Italy made it Piigs), but we really like the latest suggestion: Flea. It stands for Finland, Luxembourg,Estonia and Austria, you see, who are all causing an irritating itch for the bigger eurozone members by refusing to endorse the latest bail-out plans for Greece without some concessions in their favour.
Americans used to read books
Sanjoy Mahajan has a fascinating treatise about the decline of American literacy on theFreakonomics blog. In 1776, Thomas Paine's Common Sense sold 120,000 copies in the space of just three months, he points out, which means one in 20 Americans must have bought a copy of the work. The equivalent today would be sales of 15 million – a figure that no author has to near over a similar time period. (By the way, Thomas Paine's sales reached 500,000 within 12 months.)
Still complaining at Alphaville
More now on the regulatory overhaul of FT Alphaville, the pink paper's blogs and gossip site. Regular users of the site have been protesting in droves about its announcement that they will no longer be able to post comments using more than one pseudonym. But to no avail: the site has now put up an extensive Q&A posting to try to draw a line under the row. But there is still no explanation of why the decision was taken and nor do its handlers seem convinced: "This isn't an FT Alphaville policy change – it's an FT policy change", the Q&A explains. It doesn't sound as if they are too happy either.
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