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While Services Suffer, British Taxpayers Paid $35 Million for Wedding Security

One month after thousands protested government cuts, the British government spends millions to celebrate the royals.


In London in March, hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out to demonstrate against the government's proposed austerity measures, deep cuts to social welfare programs that also jeopardized thousands of jobs. Yesterday, just a little over a month later, Britain was shelling out about $35 million in government funds for thousands of police officers to secure the royal wedding. Happy couple aside, one wonders how many nurses being slashed from London hospitals could have been saved with that money.

Beyond the price of security, the productivity lost during the ad hoc national wedding holiday is set to be tremendous: According to some estimates, it could end up costing Britain about $50 billion.

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Q&A: Umair Haque on How to Beat Wall Street Once and for All

A conversation with economist Umair Haque about the "too big to fail" myth and how Americans can force the megabanks to change.


As director of the Havas Media Lab and a regular contributor the Harvard Business Review, author Umair Haque has long been one of GOOD's favorite scholars. Prompted by his tweets lightly mocking the U.K.'s recent anti-austerity protests, during which people attacked banks for their shockingly low tax expenditures, we reached out to Haque to talk about the demonstrations and how they could have been better. His answers were more revolutionary than any kid throwing a rock through the window of a Barclays.

For instance, says Haque, if they wanted to, a group of concerned citizens could divest from big banks en masse and collapse them (an organization called Move Your Money is already advocating just that). He argues that contrary to what most of us may feel in the wake of the financial crisis, customers are far more powerful than banks. And unless Americans learn that lesson quickly, he says, they can "kiss the future goodbye."

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