There's plenty of psychological research to show that when we spend using physical notes and coins, we spend more sensibly. Of all forms of payment, cash is the most "transparent" – the one that connects us most directly to the fact that we're parting with our money. That's also why, as the behavioural economist Dan Ariely has argued, cashlessness seems to be associated with increased dishonesty: it's easier to cut ethical corners involving money, while continuing to think of yourself as an honest person, when you're psychologically distanced from the money involved. "We are moving to a situation which allows people to rationalise dishonesty to a much, much higher degree," Ariely told Wired Magazine last year.

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Japan may face a total nuclear shutdown in the summer for the second time since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster as the country's two operating reactors close for maintenance and tough new safety checks keep the rest of the fleet offline.

That could force Japan to import even more fossil fuels for power generation, adding to an onerous energy bill that helped push the country into a record trade deficit in 2012.

In 1989, the Emperor Showa was buried at the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum in the Hachioji district of Tokyo, with the structure alone costing Y2.6 billion (£19.89 million).

Acutely aware of the nation's perilous financial situation – Japan's national debt stood at 229.77 per cent of GDP in 2011, the highest in the world – as well as the need to raise funds to pay for the reconstruction of large parts of the northeast of the country that were devastated by last year's earthquake and tsunami, the imperial couple have apparently taken it upon themselves to be less of a burden on the nation.

The Greek crisis has revealed why the euro is the world's most dangerous currency. The euro was built on a foundation of debt and trickery, where economic principles were sacrificed to romantic political visions. The history of the common currency is the story of a good idea that turned into a tragedy of epic proportions.

In case you've been on Mars (or even just on vacation), here's a surprising idea that's been making the rounds lately: there might have been something to Marx's critiques of capitalism after all.

And I have bad news for the United States: Rebalancing won't be the relatively pain-free process some in Washington hope. Faced with an increasingly ugly bilateral trade deficit, many of the most senior U.S. officials -- including many who should know better -- have repeatedly called on the Chinese leadership to empower Chinese consumers to buy more Chinese-made products and to allow the renminbi, China's currency, to appreciate to help them afford it. The Foreign Policy Survey results reported here also suggest Washington is on solid ground: Nearly 100 percent of the leading economists consulted told the magazine they think the renminbi is undervalued.

But in reality it's hard to imagine a better example of "be careful what you wish for."

According to the latest poll, 27 percent said there is little likelihood of making a living, down from 49 percent from the previous survey, and 30 percent said they can probably earn a living once they find a place to live. Forty-three percent said they have prospects to make a living, up from 28 percent.

Of the total respondents, 13 percent have left evacuation centers to live in temporary housing, public housing or apartments and seven percent have returned to their houses.

The cap has been one of the most contentious issues in the talks. Tepco and its creditor banks have argued for a limit on compensation, warning that without one Tepco's credit ratings could be cut to junk, making it impossible for the utility to raise funds, sources say.

The decision on who bears compensation costs will hinge in part on the interpretation of Japanese law, which states that a nuclear plant operator can be granted an exemption from paying damages if an accident was caused by "a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character".

Edano has repeatedly said he does not believe the accident at Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should qualify for that exemption. On Monday he reiterated that stance and said Tepco should not be offered the relief of a payment ceiling.

I don't think Tepco has done much to deserve anyone's sympathy, so I say, bleed her dry!

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