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Counterfeiting isn’t free money, it is theft. The money illicitly printed by counterfeiters doesn’t rest on any value produced, and will therefore deplete the value of dollars honestly earned by individuals and businesses. Counterfeiting therefore has a dual cost: a direct cost, with large R&D expenditures to protect the currency, and an indirect cost to the economy, by reducing the value of money.

With the economic interactions of mankind, money came around quickly – 2000 BC, per some historians. And with money, came theft. And with theft came violence, murder, property damage, evidence tampering, increased security costs and, most of all, fake money, which has taken every form, including electronic. It didn’t take long for nefarious individuals in every country to realize that it has more profitable to print fake bills than to earn money.

Every week, in Florida alone (1), approx. 70 000 counterfeit dollars are singled out and taken out of the market. And the number of arrests for banknote-forging has been on a steady rise since the year 2000. Fake money does have a cost, of course. But if it has a cost for central banks and secured printing firms who must always find more advanced ways to safeguard their paper from fraud, it has the same cost for counterfeiters – if not more, since they must operate in clandestine circumstances. It takes a large technical apparatus and top expertise to forge actual bills. It is in fact almost the name of the game to make money counterfeiting as least lucrative as possible, by adding security feature so complex they kill the profitability of the fraud.

Precisely, the first and main cost of fake bills lies in the amount of necessary technology to be injected into the notes. By working every aspect of the banknotes (ink, paper, design, security features), the cost of producing a reliable currency is greatly increased by the central banks who purchase the currency from printers. But there is an additional cost to the citizens who use the currency, and it is doubly insidious. First, their money will be worth less because of fraud. Second, they will be tempted to mover their operations towards electronic currency, which seems more secure but is in fact more liable to fraud. Third, whenever the bill is detected as forged – statistically more often when held by low-wage earners who resort more to cash and less to debit cards – the bill will be deemed worthless and refused. Malcolm Farr, analyzing money counterfeiting in Australia, says (2) “Fake currency is being found in restaurants and supermarkets and often it’s a low income earner — who is less likely to use a credit card — who is the loser.”

To tackle this economic disease, a retaliation triangle was set up: Prevention, detection and repression. Prevention is mostly the printer’s responsibility. Firms, such as Oberthur Fiduciaire (in charge of printing some of the euro banknotes (3)), oversee designing and producing banknotes. But they’re also responsible for creating a banknote nearly impossible to forge, by embedding as many security features within it. Many patents were registered by Oberthur Fiduciaire, for example, to uphold and protect banknote integrity in its finest details: Starsheen® (Security feature based on liquid crystal technology allowing brilliant and easily recognisable colorshifting effects), Labyrinth ® (Security background pattern against copying and scanning) or Diaphan® (New generation see-through public recognition security feature, combining iridescence and offset printing), and many others. Every time a new security feature is produced, money counterfeiters must reverse-engineer it before they can try to produce decent-quality forgeries. If the feature is solid, by the time the forgers crack it, a new feature will be produced. Thomas Savare, Oberthur Fiduciaire CEO, rightly considers that the fight against fake money is therefore an ongoing race.

Detection is made by banks (which scan the bills that come in) and retail (4) shop owners, who sometimes run a UV lamp over the notes they receive, so as to check their authenticity. If a concentration of forged banknotes is found in an area, it will trigger an investigation. Julie Zeveloff, executive editor of Business insider, gives a list of tips (5) to help counterfeit note detection : “Bills are printed with a security thread embedded in the bill rather than printed on it. The threads are clearly visible when the bill is held up to the light […] The threads also glow blue when held under a UV light.”

Finally, repression is made solely by government agencies. Since forging actual banknotes is considered a direct attack on the State, it is punished far more harshly than electronic fraud, which targets only private citizens and can be fragmented into small under-radar-cover misdemeanours, while yielding far more return in the end. Depending on the country and the magnitude of the fraud, sentences can be maximal: forged money can earn its creator 20 years of prison in the United States, a lifetime in Japan, and death in China.

This triple-set for fighting counterfeit money seems to work quite well, as counterfeit money circulating in the world is estimated to be under 0.1%, a rate far too low to incur economic danger for economies. But fraud has incurred defiance towards hard currency: “demand for banknotes is found to decline following a counterfeiting shock, consistent with a loss of confidence in the currency”, explains a study (6) from Reserve Bank of Australia, written by Nathan Viles, Alexandra Rush and Thomas Rohling, and entitled “The Social Costs of Currency Counterfeiting”. And vacuum was quickly filled by the emergence and generalization of electronic payment. The enormous surge in online fraud has now made electronic payments less safe than actual currency in bills or coins. It might seem at first glance it’s part of a general plan among thieves: to coax the public towards more electronic payments, where fraud is easier.

So, the expenses committed to protecting hard currency will make even more sense, if economies revert slowly back to hard cash, in the face of mounting online fraud. The securing of cash is therefore as vital as ever. Ewan Ogilvie, MD of Your Cash Europe Ltd, a European ATM provider, insists (7) upon it: “For small businesses, independent retailers and micro-businesses, cash is an absolute necessity for customer transactions, paying bills and employees”. It is vital for these companies that cash be protected, or the cost will be even higher than the price of protecting it today.

(1) http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-price-of-counterfeit-money-infographic-2012-4?IR=T
(2) http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/budgeting/rba-report-highlights-the-cost-of-forged-currencies-to-low-income-earners-and-small-businesses/news-story/544f860913f284b0a52e28b85260ce0b
(3) http://www.moonproject.co.uk/beautiful-banknotes-oberthur-fiduciaire-takes-full-advantage-of-its-history-and-technological-change/
(4) http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/mcdonalds-test-the-key-to-uncovering-fake-50-notes-20161002-grthtz.html
(5) http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-price-of-counterfeit-money-infographic-2012-4?IR=T
(6) http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2015/pdf/rdp2015-05.pdf
(7) http://www.newbusiness.co.uk/articles/banking-finance/the-new-polymer-note-what-does-it-mean-future-cash

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Students' Column

Foreign Tourists For Linguistic Stays

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Spanish Language Schools in Barcelona ( Spain ) allow you to learn Spanish by sightseeing. A round choice if we take into account the enormous international projection of the Spanish language as well as the multiple advantages offered by language trips. We tell you all about this fun way to learn a new idiom while you enjoy tourism.

6 Reasons to Learn Spanish in Barcelona

  1. There are more than 580 million Spanish speakers worldwide, that is, 7.6% of the world’s population.
  2. It is the second most studied language in the world, with almost 22 million students in 107 countries (not counting private education).
  3. It is the third language that is most used on the Internet (8.1% of communications are in Spanish) and ranks second in Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter.
  4. It is the second language in the world by number of native inhabitants (483 million) and the second language of international communication.
  5. In the US (where the Spanish is the most widely studied foreign language), more than 40 million people speak it (and it is expected that by 2050 their number will exceed even English).
  6. 50% of people who practice linguistic tourism do so to learn Spanish (around 238,000 students a year). A large part of these Spanish Courses are in Barcelona.

Linguistic tourism: the best way to learn Spanish

5 Advantages of Taking a Language Trip in a Spanish Language School in Barcelona

  1. Fun: not everyone enjoys studying languages, but everyone loves to travel.
  2. Effectiveness: it is demonstrated that linguistic immersion is the best way to enhance the learning of a new language. Even less gifted people will be able to master it in record time.
  3. Depth: not only do you learn pronunciation and grammar rules, it also allows you to get in touch with the Spanish culture, people and customs.
  4. Innovation: linguistic tourism makes you leave your comfort zone, thus facilitating greater personal growth (improve extroversion and self-esteem, increase tolerance and self-knowledge, etc).
  5. Employability: learning a language in the country where it is spoken has more value than presenting a simple academic degree.

How and Where To Do Tourism To Learn Spanish?

To ensure that linguistic tourism squeeze all its benefits, it is necessary to put ourselves in the hands of a quality institution. Only an accredited center, that has a highly qualified team, can provide us with the premium education we need.

Barcelona is revealed as one of the best destinations in Spain to learn Spanish. This large capital has the most advanced educational centers and a large number of tourist attractions, which seduce more than 10 million international visitors a year.

Spanish Courses in Barcelona ( Spain ) stand out for taking full advantage of language teaching and tourism. This vibrant capital has the best centers specialized in language trips.A good Spanish school in Barcelona is one that adapts to our needs, we offer several learning plans and the most advanced facilities. This is how we will be able to enjoy all the advantages of combining tourism and learning

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Students' Column

Unlock Your Potential with a Career in Risk Management

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If you’re no stranger to business, you’ve probably heard the term “risk management”. It is a lucrative field to be in these days; those in the risk management sector are highly sought after and well respected members of the business community. More and more young, business-minded people are seeking their masters in the field of finance with a focus on risk management. A quick scroll through recent job listings will show you that this is a highly sought after career with vacancies opening up daily. Now is the time to explore this career!

But what is risk management, exactly? Well, a risk manager is someone who works independently or as part of a risk management firm, providing advice and guidance to businesspeople in various areas, often finance. They advise on the risks involved with certain ventures, including business relationships, investments, activities within the company, management, large purchases, and more. Put simply, a risk manager will calculate the risks involved with a certain activity or decision, and tell the person in question whether or not it’s worth that risk. A risk management team is the voice of reason. Every good business person or company, especially those with high margins, should employ a risk management person or team to guide them in their decision making. 

Risk managers do more than just tell a company to say “yes” or “no”, however. They analyze market trends, develop strategies and plans for their clients, and make suggestions based on their intel. A risk manager is very hands-on without making the actual decisions, which gives you a special kind of credibility. This field requires a degree of trust and respect that you’ll work hard to cultivate. You might be literally up to your eyeballs in facts and figures, but fear not: this is hardly a boring job. Risk management is a very rewarding, and yes, exciting, career that is every bit as interesting as it is necessary. After all, you’re predicting the future of a business! Using your expert guidance to help business owners make important decisions! 

There are multiple roles one can play within the risk management team, so there’s something for every personality. Whether you’re an auditor or a business head, you’ll be an important and valued asset for the businesses you work with.

Working in risk management is very rewarding, and not just because it’s a well-paying career. Risk management teams are able to work closely with the upper echelon of a business – the big bosses. They keep their finger on current market trends, and are able to calculate and sometimes even predict major events. They’re the go-to person for every successful business! Sound exciting? It definitely is. 

A career in risk management does require a degree, usually a Master of Science in Finance, or something similar, with a key focus on risk management. Many universities offer these degrees, including Suffolk University, who offers a risk management masters online. Study for a career in risk management and finance from the comfort of your own home, and join this rapidly growing, rewarding and exciting career field. 

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Students' Column

All you need to know if you want to study architecture

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become an architect

If you are thinking about studying architecture, it is important that you take into account the sacrifice and the difficulty it entails, but at the same time the versatility it offers. It is a hard career, but the effort has its reward.

Multitude of options

Architecture is a multidisciplinary career, with very varied subjects, from artistic drawing to the most technical calculation of structures, through the classes of “projects” in which you learn to design buildings and spaces from scratch.

The good thing is that after that you have very diverse career opportunities; you can try your luck in a large international studio, you can focus on specific topics specialising with masters such as the MCH Master, or you can even work in construction on site, to give a few examples. The different subjects, which seemed to be unrelated to each other, are then connected, depending on the path you decide to choose.

Sailing nights

Choosing architecture means getting into one of the toughest careers, which will take a lot of effort to get through. No matter how difficult it may be, it’s hard to get used to the pressure. Even if you’ve organized yourself in advance, and you want to take everything to the day, in the end there are always times when you have to work all night to be able to get to the deliveries on time. Do not be discouraged by sleepless nights, you have to be mentalized from the beginning of the sacrifice to be made, but, if you share those moments with your peers, who will be in a similar situation, it becomes much more bearable, and even fun.

Learning to search for life

All the effort and dedication invested during the years of your career will not only help you obtain your degree, but you will also acquire work habits that will last a lifetime. There will be many occasions when you will have to manage to get what the teachers demand of you, but it is important to get used from the beginning to not always getting things done, and to be able to find solutions by yourself. Keep in mind that all these tools that you develop now you are going to be able to apply them later in many fields, not only professionals.

Another way of seeing the world

A very important part of the career takes place outside the university, and even outside the city where you study. It’s about travelling, because to be an architect it’s essential to visit other cities, other countries and see different things that make you think. It is necessary to see a lot, but also to analyze and ask questions, to realize when something is working and when it is not. You can only experience all this if you live it for yourself.

As you have been able to realize, architecture is a career of permanent learning; you will leave knowing a little of everything, but a lot of nothing. Whether you decide to specialize in a particular field studying a master, or if you choose another of the many options, the important thing is to always keep an awake mind, not lose the curiosity and desire to learn, and, above all, enjoy along the way.

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