Going solely on the basis of a write-up in the Sunday Times yesterday,The Origin of Wealth looks worth a read. Eric Beinhocker, a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute, reckons that the economy is a “complex adaptive system”. (Apparently) he explores why we respond to incentives in some cases and not in others, and looks at the interaction of states, markets and communities in creating social outcomes. Sounds interesting, and provides an economic lense on some of the things that Demos has been talking about for a while: how social systems are more than the sum of their parts, what this means, and how governnment operate in the space between trying to control and ‘deliver’ everything on the one hand, and simply ignoring problems on the other.
A stunning addition to any home is a balanced flue fireplace and over the years these fireplaces have sought high demand especially from people living in colder climates. Energy saving is the bottom line, whilst it is sealed into the wall these modern fireplaces are known as being up to 85% more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces. We live in Eco Friendly climate in this day and age so for that very reason: Energy Efficiency a Balanced Flue Gas Fire is that perfect solution for an indoor fireplace.
A Balanced Flue Fireplace usually has a glass front, built into the wall and is considered to be very safe. The fireplaces work on a process called convection by channelling air from the outside in, it then ejects the air through the flue to the outside of the building making this style of Gas fire extremely safe.
So what’s the catch then… well, a Balanced Flue Gas Fire Place is a little on the pricey side, but if you are looking to save money on energy and you need a fantastic addition to your home then you might want to consider installing a quality Balanced Flue Gas Fires.
A quick browse online will reveal so many contemporary fireplaces that you’ll not only be stunned, you’ll wonder how you can get to the bottom of which one is right for you. The obvious way to do this is to visit a dedicated fireplace company’s show-room. But then arrives another problem: dazzled by the speak of a professional, can you be sure that you’ll not be swayed towards something more expensive than what you had in mind?
Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to ensure you choose the right one for you. The following handy tips might sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people fail to use the resources right under their nose!
- Start with magazines: contemporary fireplaces are big business nowadays, and there are dozens of magazines to choose from, all of which review the latest brands and unravel the truth behind the costs that go into them.
- There are millions of websites online, so be sure to at least visit a few of them: in the comfort of your own home, you can view and peruse as many fireplaces as you like. You’ll be able to compare prices, make comparisons which might not have seemed obvious in the show-room, and generally feel a lot happier about everything.
- Ask the neighbours: they are on every residential street, all you have to do is look! The chances are your neighbours already had one fitted recently, and if they haven’t they may already be thinking about buying one. Two heads are always better than one, so be sure to gain as much knowledge as you can. The result? A better fireplace and a feeling of contentment.
Contemporary Fireplaces: Marble Hill Fireplaces provide a range of contemporary fireplaces in London, Surrey and surrounding areas. Visit www.marblehill.co.uk/contemporary-fireplaces.html for a preview of a stunning fireplace range.
Constructing a greenhouse could be considered similar to constructing a marquee. Planning an event can lead to hair pulling, teeth grinding and high blood pressure. Finding ways to simplify the organization and planning of that special event can make it easier and less time consuming. Once you have a theme picked out why not look for someone who specializes in helping people just like you.
You don’t have to hire a party planner specifically. You can locate a marquee hire to create the absolute best outside venue for your ideal get together. Not only do they offer tents and marquees for rent but they also offer amenities to help facilitate your perfect party atmosphere. There are companies who are prepared to provide a place for wedding receptions, birthday parties, corporate functions and other special events.
No event is planned the same, and themes are based on the ideas of the party planner. Marquee hire Surrey companies offer additions to their tents and marquees including set up, decorations, lighting, dance floors as well as offering catering, restroom facilities and entertainment options.
You don’t have to worry about the seasons holding you back. Winter parties can still be held outside in a winter wonderland and heaters keep the party goers toasty warm as they enjoy your well planned party. You can even find different sized marquees that can fit any situation and available space.
Spring garden parties to shake off the winter chill and show off the flowers in bloom can be done win the comfort of a spring themed and decorated marquee or tent to keep your guests dry in case of those unexpected spring downpours. Weddings and wedding receptions can be held in a romantically decorated marquee covered in flowers, banners and balloons signifying the couple’s dedication to their love.No matter the occasion, renting a marquee or tent can be done to add style and flair to any event. Just sit back and enjoy the smiles.
Luxury hotels in Spain offer charming accommodations in a country with a richly diverse environment. In the mountainous region of Andalucia one can discover the limestone Sierra de Grazalema, declared the first Biosphere Reserve in 1977. A draw to all nature lovers, one can delight in the spectacular view of El Pinar and the low lying plains that burst into bloom during the summer months. If you would prefer to see Italy, the take a look at Hotels in Italy for more.
Over 1,400 species of plant co-exist in harmony against the beautiful backdrop of the limestone mountains. There are a recorded 30 species of various orchids, 6 types of narcissi and seven different irises grace the landscape. The more remote slopes are covered in swathes of primeval Mediterranean forests, where visitors can find elm, nettle, buckthorn, olive, willow and oleander trees.
You may be lucky enough to see a West Iberian painted frog, but there are also red-rumped swallows, Egyptian vulture’s, eagles, griffon vultures, western polecats, beech martens, red and fallow deer and wildcats in the area. Along the coasts of Costa Rica you might enjoy a jungle cruise to Sarapiqui, with the opportunity to view howler monkeys, iguana’s and crocodiles upon your trip.
For all the wild beauty of the country, be assured that modern Spain has its finger firmly on the economic pulse. Spain is the world’s 9th largest economy and enjoys strong economic growth which has been only marginally affected by the global economic downturn. Spanish business dinners are likely to run late, as most restaurants only open at 9 p.m. and only begin a swift trade at around 11 p.m.
There is a preference for the more conservative suit and tie and business dress is distinctly more formal than elsewhere in Europe, with a preference for dark suits and a more austere colour palette. Punctuality is preferable for foreigners, yet Spaniards are not particularly time-oriented and have the attitude that they will meet deadlines when possible, rather than as a life or death necessity.
Many luxury hotels in Spain offer business services and conference facilities, making it very easy to plan a professional meeting with the assistance of staff who will see to the smooth sailing of all proceedings. Business dealings are usually chaotic and lively and be prepared for lengthy negotiations that continue late into the night.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that from the 21st December 2012, it will become illegal for car insurance companies to discriminate on the grounds of gender when calculating car insurance premiums.
This has provoked a mixed response from the European community. While many believe that branding all male drivers more dangerous than females is unfair; others are claiming it would be unfair to force women to cover the costs of male drivers with statistical evidence pointing to the fact that they do make more expensive claims than female motorists.
On the back of this ruling, a number of young motorists are calling on the ECJ to take a similar view on age based discrimination; with many young motorists being forced to pay up to 80% than older drivers.
We therefore take a look at the various opinions which have been given on the topic and determine whether or not discrimination can ever be considered a good thing.
All those in favour…
The ECJ made this ruling following a campaign by Belgian consumer group Test-Achats. This proves that there is obviously sufficient public support to warrant this change in regulations. However, there also seems to be support from some of the industries leading protagonists.
Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com has been one the key players in the industry to back the ban on gender discrimination, claiming: “gender price differences there are based on behaviour. Why should one man pay more because others behaved badly?”
Lewis added that discrimination on the grounds of gender is no different from discriminating on the grounds of race. This viewpoint has been supported by MoneySupermarket.com’s Steve Sweeney who commented: “Ultimately, I think people should be treated fairly based on their own individual risk profile.”
As well as the moral arguments surrounding this ruling, there are also discussions about the possible financial savings. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) believes that uninsured drivers are costing the UK insurance industry £2 billion every single year. Research by MoneySupermarket.com suggests that 13% of the uninsured drivers on the road claim that they are driving without insurance because they simply can not afford to pay the cost of cover. This mainly consists of young male motorists who are on the receiving end of the highest car insurance premiums.
Law abiding motorists are being forced to cover the additional costs drawn up by the uninsured drivers by paying higher car insurance premiums; and it is therefore possible that overall savings could be made by making car insurance more affordable for the groups that are being forced out of the market by car insurance companies.
Age discrimination a factor too
As has been mentioned; young male drivers are the group of motorists who are on the receiving end of the highest car insurance premiums. This is because not only are male drivers more likely to make a claim than females; but young drivers are also far more likely to be involved in an accident and make a claim than older motorists. This is proven by the fact that young drivers under the age of 25 are involved in 25% of the fatal road accidents on the road despite only making up 12.5% of the driving population. Young male drivers can therefore expect to pay almost 250% more for insurance than what is paid by the average motorist.
Older motorists are being targeted too, with drivers over the age of 70 more likely to be involved in accidents than middle aged motorists. Age Concern’s Gordon
Lishman corroborated this, stating “The insurance industry is riddled with age related practices causing significant harm to older people.”
Help the Aged’s Paul Cann is therefore calling for the ECJ to make a similar ruling when it comes to the use of age in the discrimination of motorists by insurance companies, claiming that age alone should not be used as a basis for premiums: “Age alone should not be the basis for an insurance premium or quote. Insurers are entitled to make commercial decisions, but these should be based on evidence of risk and not the date on a birth certificate.”
All those against…
However, not everyone supports the elimination of discrimination in insurance. The AA’s Simon Douglas believes that the ECJ ruling will ultimately be bad news for the majority of motorists by forcing them to cover the costs of motorists who are statistically more likely to cost the insurance company money by making a claim: “An unintended consequence of applying age equality to car insurance will be a reduction in premiums for a few at each end of the age range but an increase for the majority.”
“If insurers are not allowed to use such an important risk factor as gender, there is an increased risk that premiums won’t cover claims costs and they will need to increase prices in aggregate to compensate for the additional risk. This is bad news for motorists generally, although of course there will be winners and losers.”
Additionally, David Powell from Lloyd’s Market Association believes that by making insurance cheaper for young male drivers they will become an even greater risk on the road as they will be able to afford to run higher performance vehicles which will increase the likelihood of them being involved in an accident and making a claim; hence pushing up premiums for the majority further.
Is discrimination fair?
Opinion is split over the discrimination issue, but what is clear is that the premiums being paid by young drivers in particular are ridiculous. The average premium for a driver between the ages of 17 and 22 currently stands at £2,294; this is 243% higher than what is paid by the average motorist. However, these prices were not simply forcing motorists off the road as had been expected; with an increasing number of drivers simply deciding to go without the bare legal minimum levels of cover required by law instead.
However, only 13% of the uninsured drivers questioned as part of a MoneySupermarket.com survey stated that high prices were the reason for them not having a car insurance policy. The vast majority simply claimed that they lacked awareness and did not know that they need an insurance policy at all times.
If this survey is an accurate reflection of UK motorists then making an effort to reduce young male driver premiums could well have a devastating impact on premiums paid by the vast majority. As noted by Lloyd’s Market Association’s David Powell, this could also result in more young drivers purchasing high performance vehicles; making it more likely that they will claim and hence pushing premiums.
Based on this evidence, it could therefore be argued that it would be unwise to force every motorist to pay the same premiums each year as it would simply force good drivers to cover the costs of the dangerous and inexperienced motorists that occupy our roads. However, is it any more unfair to force a safe 18 year old motorist to cover the costs of other less mature motorists that occupy their particular age group?
Insurance premiums have always been based on the statistical likelihood of a particular policy holder making a claim. The alternative to this would be to force all motorists to pay the same amount for insurance. Either method will ultimately result
in some individuals who are statistically less likely to make a claim, being forced to cover the costs of policy holders who are considered to be more risky.
There is therefore no right or wrong answer to this, and your viewpoint on whether or not discrimination in insurance is a good thing will likely be based on the impact that it would have on you.
The pamphlet, published with Orange, argues that young people and organisations are struggling to meet each others needs – not because either lacks the ability or even inclination to do so, but because fundamentally they do not understand what each other are looking for. We argue that there are changes in the type of jobs we are asked to do, and in our expectations of employers, and until we come to terms with this we will be stuck in the blame game that often gets played out in public discourse.
What’s going on with public services? On the one hand they’re supposed to join up and become more holistic, on the other they seem to be becoming ever more fragmented and harder to govern. Schools, for instance, are getting wide ranging independence from local government, but they’re still supposed to help solve social problems that involve working with children’s trusts and the police.
Can we get the benefits of specialisation and integration? Of course we can – and a lot of public servants are already finding really interesting ways to do it through collaboration.
We’re just starting off a new project on what we’re (provisionally) calling ‘the collaborative state’ and we’re looking for examples of public services working together locally to drive innovation and tackle complex problems. We’d like to cast the net as widely as possible and get quite a few case studies up on this website, as well as putting some in the collection we’re producing.
The world cup’s starting and my mood’s sinking. Here’s why:
1. The songs – there really is no excuse for the waves of aural effluent that wash out of my radio every morning. Tony Christie and the Crazy Frog are bad enough, but Embrace just adds insult to injury. David Baddiel couldn’t even be bothered to change the lyrics of ‘three lions’ to “40 years of hurt”. That’s just lazy.
As for the Hamiltons… words fail me. What does it even mean to be ‘jolly dee’?
2. The merchandise – why would anyone buy all this crap? England sunglasses… special England wigs… about four flags on every car I see going past. And nodding dogs. Also with a flag on them. Somewhere, someone is making a lot of money from all this cheap plastic tat.
3. Its effect on my social life – a whole month of only being able to go out with my friends if we go somewhere with a big screen TV and about 50 drunk Scunthorpe fans with England flags wrapped round their shoulders. Marvellous.
Can’t you fools see that it’s just a huge money making scam probably dreamt up by the Bilderberg group or some other global conspiracy? I’m going to lie down in a cool, dark room until it’s all over.
Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman says that “We have never been so free and so unable to change things” – and David Hasselhoff fans have been listening. They want to get their hero to number 1, but realize that they’ve got a problem: they need some way of persuading people to take action (i.e. buy Looking For Freedomon i-tunes) when each person’s individual contribution makes such a small difference. Without overcoming this, Hoff fans are likely to feel powerless, and the chances are no-one will buy the song.
American writer Robert Sampson knows how they feel. If you asked him, he’d say that what they need is collective efficacy – shared belief in their capability to achieve the intended effect. So, to answer these deep sociological dilemmas, the creators of gethasselhofftonumber1.com have found a way of gathering pledges, providing continual feedback those involved, and co-ordinating action at the end of the process. You sign up to the campaign, see how many others are enlisted, and then you all receive an email indicating when to buy the song, meaning that you all buy it in the same week. Genius.