|Economics & Politics|
|ON March 24 the Portuguese
prime minister, Jose Socrates,
resigned after all the opposition
parties rejected his austerity
plan, which included slashing
pensions by more than €1,500 a
month and more cuts in tax benefits.
His government´s collapse triggered an
election, which could not take place for
another two months. During the interim
Socrates stayed on as acting prime
minister and reached an agreement
with the European Union and the
International Monetary Fund for a
€78bn bailout. The terms? Almost
exactly the same as those proposed by
him and rejected by the Portuguese
parliament six weeks earlier.
When the elections finally took place
the political class could sense a certain
degree of cynicism. The Portuguese
president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, warned
voters they could not complain about
|CASH CON BY
|WATCHING the evolution
of economic discussion
Washington over the
past couple of years
has been a disheartening experience.
Month by month, the discourse
has gotten more primitive;
with stunning speed, the lessons
of the 2008 financial crisis have
been forgotten, and the very ideas
that got us into the crisis - regulation
is always bad, what´s good
for the bankers is good for
America, tax cuts are the universal
elixir - have regained their
And now trickle-down economics
- specifically, the idea that
anything that increases corporate
profits is good for the economy -
is making a comeback.
On the face of it, this seems
bizarre. Over the past two years
profits have soared while employment
has remained disastrously
high. Why should anyone believe
that handing even more money to
corporations, no strings...
Justin Timberlake: Stealth Silicon Valley angel?
REUTERS AS it turns out, Justin Timberlake’s role as Napster founder Sean Parker in The Social Network was a wink and nod to the celebrity’s little publicised role in driving Silicon Valley start-ups.
But his involvement in the technology industry drew public notice this week with news that Timberlake, whose character in the Oscar-nominated movie helped shape Facebook’s early days, will take a stake in Myspace, the ailing social network website that New Corp is selling at a large loss.
The move — in partnership with Specific Media — is the latest in Timberlake’s quietly expanding business and investment empire.
It may also be one of his most high-profile to date, thrusting the singer-actor into a category of celebrity-turned-businessman in the mold of Ashton Kutcher.
“Fame is a highly fungible commodity,” said Paul Levinson, a professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University and an author on media innovation.
“It makes anything you do more likely to be successful.” Timberlake has several publicised business ventures, from jeans and clothing line William Rast and record label Tennman Records, a joint venture with Interscope Records, to 901 Silver Tequila, a name inspired by an area code in Timberlake’s hometown of Memphis.
But Timberlake has been providing relatively under-the-radar angel investing to tech start-ups via his Tennman Digital, an operation based in San Francisco’s tech hub.
It incubates “great ideas that we think will change how we share information, consume media, and interact with the people around us,” in the interactive digital media space, according to a profile posted on techVenture, a website that pairs investors with start-ups.
Tennman Digital has funded start-up Particle, which develops micro-video application Robo.tv, among other things.
The group has also provided funding to Apple iPhone gaming application developer Tapulous.
Timberlake’s role at Myspace remains unclear, although he will have his own office and a staff of six that will work for him, according to Specific Media Chief Executive Tim Vanderhook.
Vanderhook said his company’s expertise in technology and advertising would complement the star’s innate creativity to produce a site with “high entertainment value,” with original content from a community of musicians, photographers and other creative professionals.
The combination of money, an iconic image and the business acumen displayed by him in the past all increase the likelihood of success, Levinson said.
That’s good news for Timberlake and Specific Media, whose investment signals optimism that the brand of Myspace can be revived.
“The one thing that’s been underreported is how excited Justin is to do this.
I was blown away by his excitement level,” said Vanderhook in a phone interview.
“I think he was blown away by his excitement level, too.”