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Weekend reading: Pay monkeys, get peanuts

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

The tensions between inequality, meritocracy, communism and the incentives of capitalism have been endlessly debated over the years.

But for too long capuchin monkeys were denied their say.

This injustice was corrected by research showing that the little fellas react just as angrily to inequality as any Occupy protestor running low on Skinny Chai Lattes from the oppressors at Starbucks.

The following video shares the story:

(The full version of this TED lecture is available on its website).

I am not sure whether this video really does show the monkey is reacting angrily to not getting equal pay – or whether he’d just like some grapes, too, as they’re clearly on offer.

A better approach might be to deliver the same type of “pay”, but to give greater amounts to the monkey who demonstrates superior performance. Would our furry friends be happy to see higher skill rewarded?

I have no idea, but I do feel sorry for the losing monkey. It all seems a bit cruel.

Why not just put cameras in City offices at bonus time for equally mean but more amusing results?

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: I long for a big, cheap mortgage. Reader Brendan pointed me to a new 3.99% ten-year deal from Yorkshire, which is profiled in The Guardian. Low fees!

Mainstream media money

Note: Some links are to Google search results – these enable you to click through to read the piece without you being a paid subscriber of the site.

Passive investing

  • Terry Smith: A reminder to keep a lid on costs [Search result]FT
  • Swedroe: Big stock market drops are frequent occurrences – CBS
  • Low volatility ETFs outshining counterparts – Index Universe
  • iShares launches cheap active ETFs in the US – Index Universe

Active investing

Other stuff worth reading

Book of the week: I am really enjoying Money Mavericks, which was billed as the “Confessions of a Hedge Fund manager” but which is more endearing for being far more mundane than that sensational sub-title implies.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • 1 Monk April 27, 2013, 4:33 pm

    It does rather lead to the obvious question of what would have happened had they used two 800lb gorillas instead of two Capuchin monkeys?


    Raising a second question as to why didn’t they learn the lesson first time around…?

  • 2 Luke April 28, 2013, 11:43 am

    I saw the 10 year fix – it struck me that 3.99% isn’t really cheap these days, even with the lower fees.

  • 3 K April 28, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Hmm not quite relevant but are there any stock screeners (US stocks) you’d recommend where you pay peanuts but you don’t get monkeys ?

    I’ve found your UK-centric recommendations very good, I use daily telegraph and digilook, both free after recommendations in your blog.

  • 4 SemiPassive April 29, 2013, 9:16 am

    There are a bunch of 5 year fixed rate deals between 2.5-2.75%, which means there is virtually no safety premium to pay over tracker. This is very unusual so a great time to go for a 5 year fix in the next few months. I can’t see that situation lasting into 2014.

  • 5 gadgetmind April 29, 2013, 6:32 pm

    We do seem have to a hard-wired sense of fair play, but I also think that we augment this with sufficient intelligence to realise that some people are capable of performing tasks that others would find close to impossible.

    If these functions are of great value to an employer, then pay will reflect this, not least because otherwise the valuable skills will walk out of the door.

    Retaining key people is difficult, and if a few hairy monkeys scream that paying such people more is somehow wrong, then so be it.

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