Links 2/6/08

The Limits To Scenario Planning The Oil Drum. Much more interesting post than the anodyne title would lead you to believe. One of its threads in how people misreadThe Limits to Growth.”

Bankruptcy: No Obstacle to Private-Equity Profits Felix Salmon

The Huge Hole in Unemployment Insurance Robert Reich

Howard’s Economic Record John Quiggin. Not all that it was cracked up to be, despite having the strong tailwind of a commodities boom.

Billionaire Schwarzman: ‘I’m Not Wealthy’ Wealth Journal, Wall Street Journal. The only time I ever spoke to Scharzman in a small setting was when meeting with him and Pete Peterson to discuss a possible M&A assignment in 1986, one that was sufficiently juicy that in the end Felix Rohatyn worked on it personally.

Despite having a potentially profitable and high profile transaction in front of the then young Blackstone, which was an investment banking boutique in the process of raising its first fund, the two could not restrain themselves from talking, in front of prospective clients, how jealous they were of how much money Henry Kravis was making. And at some length, to boot.

It appear Schwarzman hasn’t changed in the intervening 20+ years.

Happiness: Enough Already Newsweek (hat tip Dani Rodrik). The piece argues that happiness is overvalued and normal sadness is pathologized (a point of view useful to the makers of Prozac). Cynically, however, I note that this sort of research is suddenly getting a hearing as the country is certain to go into a collective bad mood due to deteriorating economic fundamentals.

Predicting recession James Hamilton, Econbrowser. This is an excellent post and I hate relegating it to a mere link, but there is way too much good material on offer this evening and this post may be a hair geeky for the average reader. Hamilton turns the post over to the work of Michael Dueker, a senior portfolio strategist at Russell Investments, who has developed a model for forecasting recessions. Dueker’s assessment: “Current recession forecasts indicate that it would be unprecedented not to have a recession in 2008.”

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