Monthly Archives: August 2010

Japan: All Talk, No Action on Levitating Yen

The yen reached a 15 year high overnight as the Japanese Finance minister’s efforts to talk the currency down appear to have backfired. From MarketWatch: Strong words against a strong yen from Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda failed to prevent the Japanese unit from rising to fresh multiyear highs…. Noda said that recent currency moves […]

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Banks Enabling Fraud Against Retail Customers

I normally relegate stories that focus on personal finance to Links, but this article by Naomi Wolf, “Banks Siding Against the Customer in Fraud Cases,” (hat tip reader Francois T) is such an appalling illustration of how predatory the banking industry has become that I felt it was worth highlighting to readers. When a customer […]

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Summer Rerun: CDOs: The Ticking Time Bomb

This post first appeared on November 10, 2007 The equity markets seem to have finally realized that conditions are ugly in the credit markets, due to get uglier, and the mess will pull down the real economy. And the bad news continues. The dollar index fell to a new low. Wachovia said the value of […]

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Guest Post: Derivatives Clearing – At the End of the Beginning

Yves here. We were skeptical of derivatives reform efforts as inadequate to deal with the product that needed to be reined in, credit default swaps, and subject to evisceration depending on how various details were sorted out. And if the types of contracts that wind up being covered are reasonably broad, the new derivatives clearinghouse […]

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Links 8/23/10

Alien hunters ‘should look for artificial intelligence’ BBC. In other words, it occurred to someone that the Singularity is already on, somewhere else. But our notion of corporeal life is awfully limited. Chiefs are not allowed to spy on toilets Der Spiegel (hat tip Slashdot). Be warned, this is the Google Translate rendition. Germany is […]

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Credit Card Companies Jack Up Rates Despite Flagging Economy, Super Low Funding Costs

The banks giveth and the banks taketh away, big time. This chart from a Wall Street Journal article on credit card interest rates says a great deal: Even though banks are getting all kinds of bennies from the Fed and regulators, such as a nice steep yield curve and lots of regulatory forbearance (econ-speak for […]

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MIchael Pettis on the High Odds of Trade War

Beijing-based fiance professor and commentator Michael Pettis gives a typically sobering outlook in a Financial Times comment today, seeing the seemingly irresistible force of trade surplus countries’ resistance to shifting towards more internal generated demand colliding with the immovable object of trade deficit countries’ inability to tolerate the high unemployment rates that result for a […]

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Links 8/22/10

Today is Go Topless Day! (hat tip reader John D). Walk ‘could track down criminals’, researchers claim BBC. Really? Just put in a heel lift or rigid knee brace on one side to induce a limp, or wear super high platforms, or use a cane! Face Verification (2008-Present) Dr. Philip A. Tresadern. Another step down […]

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Does Income Inequality Help Cause Financial Crises?

New York Times writer Louise Story recaps a bold thesis put forward by David Moss of Harvard Business School, namely, that high levels of income inequality stoke financial crises: The possible connection between economic inequality and financial crises came to Mr. Moss about a year ago… A colleague suggested that he overlay two different graphs […]

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Summer Rerun: Martin Wolf: Banks Hold Central Bankers Hostage

This post first appeared on September 21, 2007 In an intriguing article today, “The Bank loses a game of chicken,” Martin Wolf, the Financial Times’ chief economics writer, followed the lead of the Bank of England’s Governor Mervyn King in backing down from their shared view that central bankers should be willing to let all […]

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Guest Post: FDA Not Testing Gulf Seafood for Mercury, Arsenic or Other Heavy Metals Because “We Do Not Expect to See an Increase Based on this Spill”

→ Washington’s Blog (see Blog version for embedded videos). Congressman Markey’s subcomittee held a hearing Thursday on seafood and the oil spill. Markey got the Food and Drug Administration to admit that fish are not being tested from oiled areas: YouTube Video The FDA also admitted that it is not testing for mercury, arsenic or […]

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Links 8/21/10

Study tracks ocean plastic spread BBC Report Says Public Transportation Makes You Skinny inhabitat (hat tip reader John D) LOYOLA RESEARCHERS ZERO IN ON PROTEIN THAT DESTROYS HIV Loyola Medicine ‘Zombie ants’ controlled by parasitic fungus for 48m years Guardian (hat tip Lambert Strether). Ugh Australian exit polls point to narrow Gillard win Telegraph Dealing […]

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The Perils of Changes of Global Leadership

John Plender in his comment at the Financial Times, “Great dangers attend the rise and fall of great powers,” does a fine job given the space constraints of discussing the fraught process of changes in global economic and political leadership. I thought it would be useful to quote Plender at length, with some additional observations, […]

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Guest Post: Are We Setting The Wrong Economic Baseline for Recovery?

Yves here. Doug Smith, the author of On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me, raised some interesting questions about how the debate about recovery is being framed. The most common approach is to look it in terms of GDP, and look at various indicators to see is progress towards […]

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Reminder: Manhattan Meet Up Monday August 23

Some readers who were unable to come to the Manhattan bookstore event earlier this year asked for a rain date. Unfortunately, bookstores don’t work that way (despite the fact that the session was standing room only) and given the vagaries of my schedule, the best fallback is a meeting in a public venue. So if […]

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