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On the money

A costly own goal for JP Morgan

Nicola Tree/Getty images

It’s not just half a dozen English football clubs that have egg on their faces after the European Super League shambles. JP Morgan, as venerable a financial institution as they come, is bearing the brunt of fans’ anger this week for backing the plan with €3.5bn in loans. “Are the long-term gains for the bank really worth it when the short-term reputational hit threatens to be severe?” asked Graham Ruddick in The Times.

The Daily Telegraph couldn’t conceal its glee at the discomfort of Chuka Umunna, a former Labour leadership candidate and vocal critic of bankers’ bonuses who has just started as JP Morgan’s top man on environmental, social and governance affairs – or head of “doing the right thing”, as the paper ironically described him. “By backing the ESL, his colleagues have already put Umunna in the line of fire.”

Certainly, he is off to a difficult start. Standard Ethics, a sustainability rating agency, has downgraded JP Morgan over its role in the breakaway league, changing the bank’s rating from “adequate” to “non-compliant” and saying its behaviour ran “contrary to sustainability best practices”.

Yolo workers are ready to go solo

Dreading the prospect of going back to the office, however cushy and stable your well-paid job? Flush with funds after months of lockdown? Planning to turn that hobby into a full-time gig? Welcome to what The New York Times’s technology columnist Kevin Roose calls the Yolo economy, a movement with a rallying cry of “you only live once”. Popularised a decade ago by the rapper Drake, the slogan has come to characterise the attitude of “a certain type of bored office worker” in recent months.

Emboldened by talk of economic recovery, and with fat bank accounts after a year at home, the “exhausted, type-A millennial workers of America… are flipping the carefully arranged chessboards of their lives and deciding to risk it all”. While some are merely changing jobs, “others are stepping off the career treadmill altogether”.

Several of Roose’s acquaintances have announced plans to quit prestigious high-paying jobs to pursue risky passion projects. Now “a trickle of LinkedIn updates has turned into a torrent. I tweeted about it and dozens of stories poured into my inboxes, all variations on the same basic theme: ‘The pandemic changed my priorities, and I realised I didn’t have to live like this.’”

Employers are fighting back against the exodus. LinkedIn recently gave the majority of its staff a paid week off and Twitter employees now have an extra day off per month. Junior bankers at Credit Suisse are receiving $20,000 “lifestyle allowances,” while Houlihan Lokey, another Wall Street firm, is treating many of its workers to all-expenses-paid holidays.

The smartest guys in the tomb

News of a ghoulish investment opportunity in China, where “looting antiquities” is a thriving business. According to The Economist, the government is redoubling efforts to crack down on grave robbers, “some backed by investors who cover travel expenses and stump up for tools”. Last year 2,400 such thieves were arrested and more than 31,000 lost or stolen items were retrieved, almost three times as many as in the previous 12 months. The good news is that popular novels and TV shows featuring the craze have strengthened public interest in archaeology.