Plymouth Brethren and Moslem Brothers

Fri, 2013/03/01 - 12:25pm | Your editor
Printer-friendly version

I first met Stuart some 20-odd years ago when he installed a new stove-top in my NYC apartment, sent by the appliance store. Stuart then told me he was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, a Bible-thumping nearly 200-year-old evangelical religious fellowship. It is not a church and has no clergy. Brethren sing a cappella. (Stuart's a tenor and sings while he works.)

I next met him was about 10 years ago when I had an appliance problem. He then told me that he was being shunned by the Brethren (including his wife) for some offense, and was being denied contact with their three daughters.

Last week I bought a new over-the-stove microwave oven from Home Depot whose (paid) installers said they couldn't replace the existing GE device with a new one of the same marque. Having been reimbursed by what my daughter calls "Home Despot" I called upon Stuart.

Yesterday he installed my new microwave and I helped him set things up in the kitchen whose refrigerator doors are garnered with photos of our 5 grandchildren and other relatives' and contributors' kids.

Stuart choked up and told me he had joined the Times Square Church (built into a large theater building in the west 50s of Manhattan) and sang in its choir 4x a week. His three daughters and now 5 grandchildren are all living in Australia to which his wife moved. She did this to protect them from what she called his "apostasy" in joining a competing evangelical religious movement from the Brethren. has paid preachers, a hierarchy, and displays Christian symbols like the cross, while the Plymouth Brethren do not.

When God tells him to, Stuart says, he will go to Australia to try to resume contact with his estranged wife and 3 daughters, two of whom have married Down Under. Before I met Stuart we knew a Plymouth Brethren member who worked for the UK Treasury to cover the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., when we lived there. He told us that he beat his children every Saturday night for any naughtiness he did not know about. I am sharing this saga because we tend to focus on Moslem fanaticism and not on what is being done in the name of Christianity.


The Economist Management Thinking Digest's Melanie Senior writes that drug firms’ future innovation will go beyond pills or injections to include treatment, service, and support. The way to profit will depend on Apple-like advances in usability and compliance, rather than science: "Apple didn’t invent anything fundamentally new in its iPhone but it did create an irresistible user-interface and unrivalled touch-screen technology," she writes.

In pharma, novel delivery and formulations of established treatments or finding versions of existing drugs that are longer lasting are already being developed. "But the outcomes revolution goes beyond drug formulation and calls for drug firms to embrace a new way of thinking: Different expertise, broader relationships with payers, and a wider notion of value." Drug firms, she writes, are going beyond drugs or devices to offer IT, iPhone monitoring and data-recording, and other non-drug businesses. I get EMTD from my bank.


Oops. The French financial transaction tax is 0.2% while the proposed EU FTT is only 0.1%. In both cases the tax is paid when buying or selling, so you have to double it to work out the impact.

Britain runs a stamp duty which acts as a FTT and costs 2% but it only applies if all parties are British. Brits avoid the tax by using options or contracts for difference, however. According to Prof. Steven M. Davidoff of Ohio State writing in yesterday's New York Times, NY State has collected a FTT since 1905 and after a second FTT was imposed by New York City, brokereages moved to Jersey City. New York State still collects the 1905 tax but gives it back immediately. There also was a federal FTT imposed in teh US to pay for World War I and eliminated only in 1966, Prof. Davidoff writes. And state FTTs were also applied in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and only eliminated in the 1950s, but not before MA fund management moved to tax-free New Hampshire. In fact 23 countries have had financial taxation taxes and the most recent example, Sweden, which passed the tax in 1984, saw as much as half the country's trading volume move... to Britain. 

The key difference with the French 0.2% tax is that it applies if any of the parties are French: seller, buyer, or corporation from France with a capitalization of over euros 1 bn. The impact has been to boost trading volume of smaller French companies by 19% while FTT-subject share volumes fell 16%. The impact on prices is not yet clear according to a study by Credit Suisse.

Germany is getting prepared and now requires registration of any firms doing high-frequency trading.

More for paid subscribers follows with some fun from Britain on what Warren Buffett will do next and good news from Israel, both reported by other publications plus other news from Canada, Ireland, Brazil, Florida, and Louisiana.

Full content is available to subscribers only. Subscribe now.