Creating something from nothing

Dear Economist,How do you turn “f*** all” into “something”?Tim Renshaw, painter, West NorwoodDear Tim,I am sure this is not a purely abstract question. You believe that you have no valuable assets and you would like to accumulate some. That is natural enough.The first...

Schoolboy error

My school used to offer two varieties of food. There was canteen food, which was inedible, and there were chocolate bars from the tuck shop. For two years, I had four chocolate bars for lunch every day. These days schools are trying to outlaw the unhealthy options,...

Leaving your money to the cat

Dear Economist,I have a two-year-old daughter. I am thinking of making contributions into her tax-free “Child Trust Fund” accounts to help with university fees or a deposit on her first home. The trouble is that under the rules of the scheme, the money becomes my...

If the price is right

The Undercover Economist – FT Magazine 8 JulyIf you want to be rich, you can try to set up a brilliantly successful company. Or you can steal money. Trans-parency International, the corruption watchdog, has estimated that Mohamed Suharto embezzled up to $35bn...

Is a wife valuable property?

Dear Economist,I live in a strange European Union country where one of our members of parliament declared his wife, who is a housewife, an economic asset in the wealth statement required by parliament. Was he right to do so? Was he fair towards his wife, who is also a...

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