It’s not really a surprise to see Abu Dhabi hand over another bunch of dollars to its wayward relative Dubai. It had to be so; it was just a matter of time. The bailout or handout or whatever one wishes to call this latest transfer of money was necessary to shore up the reputation of the Emirates.

Dubai Metro

Dubai Metro

It’s the second time that Dubai has had help from it’s more conservative and wealthier neighbour. In February 2009 Abu Dhabi pledged $10 billion to prop up the ailing Emirate in a move to assist Dubai’s $20 billion long-term bond program. The Central Bank of the UAE bought up the first tranche of the bond issue.

The highest Tennis court in the world

The highest Tennis court in the world

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Just before Christmas scores of people feel compelled to write lengthy articles, present lectures, compile videos for YouTube and in general create hot air about the topic of excessive Christmas gift buying.

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Some pontificate about this subject throwing clever economic theories about and others tug at emotional strings while further proponents try to reason that Christmas gifts are a waste of money because most people hate the ones they get.

They certainly have a point. The shopping malls hum at their busiest just after Christmas when people come in to exchange their unwanted gifts.

So why do it?

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Easy answer really. It’s all about guilt. Parents showering their children with gifts do this because they feel guilty that they don’t show their love and caring enough. Adult children give gifts to parents because they feel guilty that they don’t show their love and caring enough. Husbands give their wives gifts because… You get the drift of the argument here.

If this is the reason for the excessive gift season, how did it get so out of hand? Enter the advertising industry whose reason for existence is to ensure their clients sell more and more products.

Holidays based on emotional reasons such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father and Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Day and most other man made public holidays are an advertising executive’s wet dream.
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Emotions and message. They work so well together. If you love your kids, parents, friends, auntie and any other folk you can think of then you have to buy that latest game, just launched designer label perfume, bit of jewelery or that cute little Ferrari.

The bigger the purchase the more perfect is your love. Not always of course. Sometimes   it’s the latest toy that causes the most obsessive gift purchasing quest. Many parents have felt compelled to shred their nerves chasing around the shopping malls to find that last Nintendo game, most recent Bratz doll or zebra striped iPod.

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For many businesses this period of gift feeding frenzy is the main income generating quarter. This is what keeps them going. Sure there are other times during the 12 month trading period where the flat-lining turnover figures show a blip of life, but it’s the Christmas trading period that provides the bulk of their trade.

Florists have a similar love relationship with Valentine’s Day. And chocolate manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon of Easter for their rush of income. So why should shopping malls not similarly pursue the Xmas dollar.

That’s exactly what shopping malls are doing with great gusto. How else would it be possible for you to find the biggest decorated Christmas tree in an Arab country? And have you noticed how early in the year those Christmas decorations are put up and the cheesy jingles are played? October already.christmasshop-main_Full

In the end it’s truly a win-win situation. Business makes its money. Human beings get to calm their guilt feelings about how the stress and busyness of their lives forces them to neglect their friends and family during the year.  It’s a season of goodwill to all folk all round.

What is your take on this seasonal topic?

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Here are a few money management pointers for women. Are there any aha moments for you when you read this list? Post your comment!

Tip 1: Balancing your cheque book is not rocket science
Contrary to what women believe or in many cases are lead to believe by the male influences in their lives, it is not difficult to work out personal finances. The basic principle is not unbelievably complex. What is paid into your account should cover what you pay out.

Spend what you have. In fact preferably not all you have, put some away. But start with balancing the incoming and outgoing as your first baby step towards financial intelligence.

And if that means cutting up the credit cards, then do so right now. If you cannot afford to pay the full amount due on your credit card at the end of the month, then you have a problem. You are trying to eat more than you have.

2) Take care of your own money
In line with balancing your own cheque book, let’s also understand then that you do not need to abdicate the money management function to anybody else. Regardless of what your father, uncle, partner et al says, guess what – you can do it yourself.

Just because you are a woman does not mean you are incapacitated, even handicapped, when it comes to working with your money. This you might have heard your father say often. Mother doesn’t know how to manage money; I can’t leave it to her.

Do not believe this. You can do the money sums. Trust yourself on this score. And in case you might not be able to add up to ten, go and do a course and learn.

3) Treat your money with respect
Where does it say in the handbook on life that you should throw your money at rubbish? You don’t need that expensive hair cut, the designer jeans, the brand spanking new car.
Because guess what. Nobody cares.
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Why Humans Are never Satisfied!!

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Where are you?

Communist China, 1995— the dawn of capitalism.

The Hong Kong based guide talked about the free enterprise zones, building projects, golf courses, and roads with a chest full of pride and visible excitement. Capitalism was everywhere along the tour route, and judging from the advertisements on billboards and posters, the world was coming to China!

But although the government was embracing “for-profit” business for the first time, the train-ride out of the country evidenced the abject poverty of what would become a willing and able workforce. Another communist built wall was falling; another socialist society was moving closer to “The Force”.

Today, in the very birthplace of capitalism, an entrenched, arrogant, and incompetent congress equates greedy executives with the demise of capitalism while the economic force field it demeans catapults third world nations onto the leader board of global economic growth potential. Capitalism dead? Hardly.

As congressional fat cats lament the corruption of governments throughout the world, they line their pockets with favors from powerful lobbyists on Wall Street, within drug companies and insurers, and seek the bed of every conceivable public and private special interest group, ad nauseum.
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A participant in the morning Working Capital Model (WCM) investment workshop observed: I’ve noticed that my account balances are returning to their (June 2007) levels. People are talking down the economy and the dollar. Is there any preemptive action I need to take?

An afternoon workshop attendee spoke of a similar predicament, but cautioned that (with new high market value levels approaching) a repeat of the June 2007 through early March 2009 correction must be avoided— a portfolio protection plan is essential!

What are they missing?

These investors are taking pretty much for granted the fact that their investment portfolios had more than merely survived the most severe correction in financial market history. They had recouped all of their market value, and maintained their cash flow to boot. The market averages remain 40% below their 2007 highs.

Their preemptive portfolio protection plan was already in place — and it worked amazingly well, as it certainly should for anyone who follows the general principles and disciplined strategies of the WCM.

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Emphasize tradition and heritage in your advertising campaigns and don’t cut prices, said marketing guru, Martin Lindstrom, as he revealed his top 10 tips for the advertising during the economic downturn.

Brands that invest in marketing during a recession tend to gain market share as their competitors lose focus on their overall strategy, he said. Lindstrom was speaking in the run-up to his Buyology Symposium, held recently at Dubai. The symposium – the first time it was held in the Gulf – will cover the impact of subliminal advertising and the revolutionary influence of neuroscience in marketing.

The book, Buyology, which was released in October, is the result of a groundbreaking study on NeuroMarketing, which studied thousands of volunteers and was the largest of its kind ever taken.
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Can lawmakers who don’t have the courage or intelligence to outlaw texting while driving really be expected to create a saner tax structure? Hmmm.

Developing a fairer tax environment is much less an economics problem than it is a political dilemma and, as many of you observed, it is unlikely that anything “tax” will be improved upon until there is some serious facial (and cultural) change in Washington.

Politicians focus on one issue at a time, and pretend to have problems dealing with inter-related programs. Tenured politicians have a vested interest in resisting any change that involves their spheres of influence. Both parties are embarrassingly mired in twentieth century class warfare that stifles all forms of productive debate.

Tax cuts don’t just benefit the rich. In fact, they provide the opportunity for everyone to attain greater wealth. Demand directs resources far better than punitive taxation. Money in consumer hands will fuel social and environmentally friendly change.

“You cannot eliminate revenue from one program without replacing it from another, equally complicated, one”, career politicians will say philosophically.

They have little to gain from simplifying the tax collection system — yet it is obvious that a whole new approach would solve most of the economic woes plaguing us today, domestic and international.
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If you serach for online casinos at the moment there are thousands of casinos around at the moment, both online and land based.  But can it be done? If you search or visit the best online casino can you find a source of betting systems that don’t require you to pay $100’s up-front with no proof that they work? Can any betting system work at a casino? This site offers listings of top rated online casinos including those that accept US players and features a forum.

With the right system, and most importantly, the right discipline, it can be done. Casinos typically work to a ‘House Edge’ of 1 to 5%. For every $100 gambled, the player will lose $1 to $5. It doesn’t sound like much, but in a multi-billion dollar industry it’s enough to make online casinos some of the most profitable sites in the world, and to build Las Vegas up from nothing in just a few years.

A whole lot of people will tell you that it is impossible to overturn this edge, and from a purely mathematical point of view they are correct. The Laws of Probability mean that you cannot turn a negative into a positive. If you are playing Roulette, and Black has come up 10 times in a row, the odds of it coming up next time are still 50/50. (Ignoring the ‘0’ and ’00’) According to the Laws of Probability, there is no reason why Black cannot come up 100 times in a row. This argument, while scientifically sound, ignores the Law of Possibility, which means that in the real world, the chances of Black coming up 100 times in a row is so slight that it can be ignored.
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