June 11th, 2010
03:39 PM GMT
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Ok, so it wasn't really much of a debate yesterday; there is absolutely no correlation between a country's GDP or population and its success at football.

That is not the case in say the Olympics, but when it comes to playing the world's most popular sport, all you need is a ball and something to make a goal. Maybe that is why football is such a great equalizer.

So, let’s look at who WOULD win if it was down to the economy, starting with the most important game of the weekend: England vs. USA.

America's growth is currently three times that of the UK (hard to find stats just for England) and its budget deficit is lower than that in the UK. Though unemployment in the UK is much lower than in the USA, I give the edge to the USA (I was born there after all).

As for the others matches: Korea would easily beat poor Greece (4.5 percent growth vs. minus 2 percent), Nigeria would bury Argentina (7 percent growth vs. 3.5 percent). And past winners Uruguay would easily beat the 1998 champions France (5.7 percent growth vs. 1.5 percent).

What about the hosts? South Africa's economy is growing but not as fast as Mexico's, and Mexico has a much lower unemployment rate.

In fact, Mexico should go far in this tournament. If you just look at how fast its economy is growing coupled with its love of the sport.

Mexico vs. South Africa: Fans blow a Vuvuzela at Soccer City

May 11th, 2010
01:20 PM GMT
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London, England - No matter who you think should be blamed for the spill in the Gulf, there is no point commentators making the point that the "B" comes from the word "British."

“The British Petroleum Company” was the official name of the oil giant from 1954 (born years before from the purchase by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company of the subsidiary called "British Petroleum" of a German oil company) until 1998.

But its focus after it was founded in 1909 was Persia (Iran) and Libya, before it lost both operations during the 1970s (nationalization.)

"BP" was just one brand in the portfolio for decades.

While the UK government owned a stake, and it has been listed on the London Stock Exchange, selling fuel to British consumers was only a part of its business.

It then became a big exploration player off the coast of Scotland and in Alaska.

BP transformed into a big American company with the purchase of SOHIO in 1987 (Standard Oil of Ohio,) its 1998 merger with AMOCO (once John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of Indiana) and then its purchase of ARCO (once Atlantic Petroleum Company and then Atlantic Richfield Company.)

The company was known as BP AMOCO until 2000, when it was finally shortened to just plain old BP.

To me, it’s just like Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing is just 3M and International Business Machines is just IBM and parts of the old American Telephone and Telegraph is just AT&T. The old British Aerospace (BAE Systems) is so big in the USA defense industry now that using the "British" would be nonsense.

Sure, BP will have to think long and hard about its recent branding campaign to say BP means "Beyond Petroleum" (it also once said it stood for "better people, better products and big picture.")  Some blogs are now suggesting of course “Big Polluter.”

It is an oil and gas giant and certainly, has not moved beyond petroleum, so it should not shy away from calling itself an energy firm.

But it has also moved well beyond its tenuous British roots.

Or it could call itself “British Anglo-Persia Standard Castrol Atlantic Petroleum,” or BAPSCAP.

Any other suggestions?

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Filed under: BusinessEnergyenvironment

April 14th, 2010
04:37 PM GMT
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London, England - Until I moved to London 20 years ago, a manifesto to me was something issued behind the Iron Curtain by an authoritarian government which laid out a five-year plan to show free marketeers how wrong they were.

But in Britain, all the political parties used the term "manifesto" to lay out their stalls (another British term lost on me at first) in order for the electorate to decide where to put an X.

Some of the manifestos have nothing to do with the economy, so I will bypass those sections, but much of it is economic and business-focused this time around, given this is being touted as the "Economic Election."

Read the full blog here

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