Planet Business

Volkswagen’s Mr Lies, Brazil’s Museum of Tomorrow and Pope Francis on capitalism

Image of the Week: Olympic meltdown

This is Rio de Janeiro’s Museu do Amanha, or the Museum of Tomorrow. The attraction of the future is under construction in Porto Maravilha (Marvellous Port) zone of the Brazilian city, which was earmarked for a $2 billion development but has been hit by a collapse in the real-

estate market. Roads have been torn up, tunnels have been dug and walkways and gardens laid, but the high-rise office towers that were supposed to transform it into a thriving, commercially viable business district are missing. A public fund that paid up front for the infrastructure in the assumption that a profit bonanza was just around the corner is now left nursing the costs less than one year before the Olympics. “Tomorrow is not a date, and it’s not a place. Tomorrow is a work in progress,” say the curators of Museu do Amanha – and so too is the Porto Maravilha.

In Numbers: Ralph Lauren’s face lift


Years since Ralph Lauren established his luxury fashion empire in New York. After decades of success, the preppy clothing brand is, critics say, in need of "a serious facelift".



Percentage drop in shares in Ralph Lauren in the year to date, up until 75-year-old Lauren announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down as chief executive.


Percentage bounce in Ralph Lauren's shares as investors responded favourably to the new boss, Stefan Larsson, the retailer credited with reviving Gap's Old Navy brand and a veteran of the fast- fashion competition at H&M.

The Lexicon: Pricelock

Pricelock is a new Aer Lingus wheeze, whereby people browsing its site for a fare can "freeze" any quoted European fares for 24 hours. It's all part of the new Aer Lingus website, which chief executive Mike Rutter claims is a "quantum leap" forward from the "classic" Aer Lingus site. The catch with Pricelock is that it costs €5 per passenger per one-way flight – in other words, €20 for a return trip for two. If you go ahead and book the "frozen" fares within a day, the Pricelock fee is offset against the total cost. But if you decide to fly Ryanair instead, that's tough luck. You panicked and now Aer Lingus has pocketed at least one of your fivers.

Getting to know: Olaf Lies

Olaf Lies is on the board of Volkswagen. Yes, he is. He’s also the economy minister of Lower Saxony, which owns a 20 per cent stake in the beleaguered car company. He admits that some people in Volkswagen deceived drivers and regulators by installing the “defeat devices” in cars so they could pass diesel emission tests, or by knowing that this was what was going on. But not the board. The board, notwithstanding the English translation of any of their surnames, only found about the problems at its last meeting, shortly before the media did, Mr Lies told the BBC’s Newsnight. “I want to quite open,” Mr Lies said. “We need to find out why the board wasn’t informed earlier about the problems.”

The list: The Pope on capitalism

He held back from a full critique on his recent trip to Washington, but Pope Francis has thoughts on capitalism and he usually doesn't mind sharing them. Here are his top five:

1 Satanic waste Unbridled, unfettered capitalism is the “dung of the devil”, he said in a speech in Bolivia in July.

2 Not good “Inequality is the root of social evil,” @Pontifex tweeted, surprising some of his church’s more fire-and-brimstone followers, who thought it was “sin”.

3 Consumer society Workers today are considered “consumer goods which can be used and thrown away”. Lovely.

4 Lacking humanity “The golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal,” he says.

5 Lacking inclusivity Governments should redistribute wealth to the poor to curb the “economy of exclusion”. There might need to be a revolution or two before that happens.