We Chat on Bloggingheads with Megan McArdle on the Credit Crisis

Here’s a clip:

Boy, do I need to get better at looking at the lens. FWIW, this is all done with a computer camera (unlike videotaping or TV) so you only have a teeny light to look at, and you clearly need to keep your eyes locked on it not to look peculiar. Better luck next time, but I hope you enjoy the substance. I had fun chatting with Megan.

Here it the full session.

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  1. Kady


    You sound and look fabulous. If only we could all be so poised. Ok, enough fawning for now.

  2. Abbott_Of_Iona

    Nice to see the face that fronts the intelligence.

    Yves Smith for Vice President.

    How many newspapers was it again that Shara Palin reads on a regular basis?


  3. Abbott_Of_Iona

    Does the cat have an opinion?

    I think it probably has as much insight as Sarha Palin.


    I have cats.

    They know more than Sarha Palin.

    They know their DNA is more than 6000 years old.

  4. Anonymous

    I bet a lot of people didn’t know you were a woman, just from your name Yves. Now they know.

    Your blog is great! Thanks for all your writing.

  5. Anonymous

    What is up with the Democrats, they continue to carry water for the most hated president in history on a financial bailout of the Wall Street crooks that the American people bitterly appose. Rather than believing the doom, gloom and fear mongering plan coming from Paulson and Bernanke, who both have an ax to grind, the Democrats should be holding hearings from a broad cross-section of experts and only then developing the right plan to solve this mess without giving bankers a $700 billion dollar gift that they may very well just keep. Democrats, don’t be afraid of being called names by the big bad Republicans, get some balls, do the right thing, show some leadership, the American people will support you.

  6. Marco

    My God,

    I thought that Yves was a MALE name, not a FEMALE one !!!!!

    I thought you were a man !!!

    Sorry, madam.

    Ahem, and you seem a nice lady …

  7. Anonymous


    HINT: – put a nice picture just above/behind the lens, then you can focus on that!

  8. maynardGKeynes

    Yves, you are a national treasure, unfailingly gracious and amazingly smart. Great cat, too.

  9. Anonymous

    This is the first time I have heard someone mention that foreign creditors must be a factor in the ‘bailout’.

    With the G7 and other countries chastising the US for this mess, and saying they have to solve this on their own, and with the G7 twice in recent history now mentioning that they do not want to see currency fluctuations, isn’t it conceivable that this whole deal is just to take back the toxic securities that were sold overseas?

    Most people criticize the bailout since it doesn’t solve anything beyond unfreezing the credit markets, but I have never heard Paulson say that it was a solution to anything other than buying these securities or face a huge economic meltdown.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that the US has been told through backroom negotiations to take back these toxic securities, quit trying to devalue the dollar and start to try and pay back your debt or foreign creditors will not support any more borrowing.

  10. Namazu

    Yves: thanks for appearing on bhtv and sharing your thoughts with a more general audience. Who knows? You may have gotten the attention of a future member of Congress.

  11. walt

    Other than the fact that you didn’t look at the camera, I would have had no idea you’d never been on TV before.

  12. DPC

    Yves: Cameras are tricky as you have no doubt learned. If you don’t have a REAL person to talk to you can look like you’re talking to the ether because in a way you are. However, if you do what (good) actors do and try to imagine yourself talking to another person (allowing yourself to blink, to bow or turn your head, to smile, to grimace, you’ll find you’re looking like your (good) old self. So nice to see your face; very reassuring in that it matches the integrity of your wonderful work.

  13. Richmond Rambler


    You're beautiful! You look quite a bit like your cat.

    Your comments about risk & Mandelbrot are especially eloquent and valuable.

  14. Wendy


    You hold a great amount of grace. I hold great admiration for you. I also admire your intellect but equally so your approach which is humble, open minded, well informed and “real”.

    I would love to see you do more of these blog head things. They are much easier for a layman, such as myself, to understand. They therefor hold the ability to educate others in a powerful way. I am even going to have my 14 year old watch this and I feel certain he will be able to understand most of it.

    I appreciated Megan taking a moment to have things explained, like money markets. Although I grasp them I am sure that some people do not. Crisis offers us opportunity. More people are becoming interested in what is happening and if they can learn about these things, in with a layman approach, they will teach others and a ripple effect will be felt for generations.

    Thank you for all the service you provide and for your humble grace. I hope you know how much your life’s work means to others and that you do touch the lives of others in a valuable way.


  15. Abbott_Of_Iona

    Still watching.

    I’m at 42 minutes. (+30 minuts, I HAD to watch the debate on the Finance Minister of Ireland placing the most incredible bet in 6000 years (a bet since that Sarha Palin would understand)

    Fantastic interaction of ideas.

    I think true democracy.

    I have no knowledge of Megan Mcardle I will pursue.

    But, in the absence of not seeing the rest of the exchange , she sounds like somebody who just wants it all to go away.

    “Why can’t everything be just like it was when I was ten years old.”

    “Why can we no have exponentional growth forever, or at least until I die a natural death”

    You are a courageous intellect.

    Blessings upon you and you cat.

    “Human tendency to want

  16. russell1200

    Megan McCardle has a great screen presence in this format. She surprised me because previously she had not appeared to have such in depth knowledge on the subject.

    You occasionally talked over her, but she was very good at picking up her point again.

    Your kitty cat is no doubt an excellent market analyst and was no doubt prevented egregious errors on your part by distracting you at the key moments.

    I thought you did very well.

  17. Abbott_Of_Iona


    Russell 1200

    I think you might want to look at this again, take your time, ten times maybe.

    You just watched the true Presidential debate.

    It’s up to you russell1200 whether you prefer ignorance to truth.

    It is of course possible that you care less for either.

  18. Anonymous

    Thanks much for efforts on this. As someone who works in the Financial Services industry, but is not a trained banker, I find your blog educating, insightful and constructive. In my opinion, you have, and continue to, perform a great service to an audience that has grown far beyond your expectations.


  19. nemo

    McMegan didn’t come off too badly here, but honestly, Yves, you can do better than be interviewed by her.

    She regularly gives plenty of reasons to cement her reputation as a bit of maroon. This is someone who called herself Jane Galt for a long time.

    Like a lot of people, I’ve come to rely on your blog as a reliable source. You have a lot of well-earned credibility. McMegan wants a piece of that credibility, since she does little to earn credibility on her own.

  20. russell1200

    Ignorance versus truth?

    I have not in the past been particularly impressed by Megan McCardles’ financial – economic statements. I thought she did well here. I thought her points as to why Sweden (the panacea for those who hate the bailout bill) were particularly on point.

    Yves’ point about Balkanizing the system actually had been state in james Pinkerton’s last blogging heads with David Corn. He had put in more of terms of dividing the industry more in a state by state way. But his point was to ensure that we did not have any one entity that was too large to fail. A different paradigm than Yves used, but somewhat also to the point.

    I thought Yves did very well. I did not take it as a situation as Yves versus Megan. Even though they have very different political philosophies (mine being in more sympathy with what I understand of Yves) they appeared to be in agreement on many points. That is not particularly unusual in the blogging heads format.

    I will say that your rather confrontational (and maybe I am misinterpretting) post seems more of the flavor of what passes for discourse in the politcal blogging sphere or possible one of the yahoo stock boards.

    Could you be more percise in exactly what you thought were the strong points of the participants where? Ms. McCardle was mostly asking questions. Yves answered well, but did not (at times) allow much room for follow up on specific points. This made Ms. McCardle’s task much more difficult, and at times made the dialog a bit disjointed. People are involved so of course not all is perfect.

  21. Anonymous

    It’s rare that somebody with such intelligence is even more articulate extemporaneously than in writing. Very interesting discussion. You should be doing MSM TV in addition to blogging.

  22. doc holiday

    Marry Me,

    This is great!, a new evolution here and just top-notch!

    My point right now is that this all politics and the money is un-important, when placed into the perspective of a 7 year war in Iraq and a $13 Trillion economy — this is politics to screw the democrats and win votes through deception.

  23. ButwhatdoIknow?

    Well, I guess this settles the question of whether Yves is a man or a woman. . . I’d just like to say thanks, Yves,for the work you do putting together this blog. I read it every day and it has really helped me understand things financial much better.

  24. a

    I think they were testing when Brad was taken offline for a few hours, then you. If there’s a false flag Tonkin incident in the Persian Gulf, remember you have a lifeboat. Email me with a postal address and I’ll explain what to do. You can bring your cat.

  25. Abbott_Of_Iona


    My apologies, I did not mean to offend,

    “Your kitty cat is no doubt an excellent market analyst and was no doubt prevented egregious errors on your part by distracting you at the key moments.”

    I was just defending the cat.

    I had previously come to the conclusion that the cat had more sense that Sarah Palin.

    Of course I could be wrong.

    The cat may read fewer papers than Sarah Palin.

    I can’t be sure.

    I have not met the cat and I have not met Sarah Palin.

    “I will say that your rather confrontational (and maybe I am misinterpretting) post.”


    You are correct. You did misinterpret. I was defending the cat.

    I also said that

    “You just watched the true Presidential debate.”

    I cannot speak personally for Yves’s cat.

    God knows, I try to tell my cat about behaviour. But do you think it listens?

    I try to tell my political and economic leaders about behaviour. But do you think they listen?


    We don’t have to be enemies just because we are afraid.

  26. Anonymous

    I am highly confident the cat is smarter than Sarah Palin. Unlike our Veep wanna-be, the cat puts its foot in its mouth on purpose.

  27. Abbott_Of_Iona

    russell1200 said…

    “Ignorance versus truth?”

    Beyond my observation of cats.

    What I saw and listened to was two women NOT MEN, having a true debate about the future.

    I hope you are not overly offended.

    But I prefer truth to ignorance.

  28. doc holiday

    I named my daughter with somewhat of a male name (in retrospect) and a very feminine middle name, so it is nice to see the confusion here, with the name Yves!

    FYI: Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria, which at the time was a French colony. According to Alice Rawsthorn, his family was among the most prominent in Oran.[4] His father, Charles, a descendant of Baron Mathieu de Mauvières (who officiated at the wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais), was the president of an insurance company and the owner of a chain of movie theatres


  29. Paul W


    I studied non-verbal communications under one of the top experts in the country. He would have given you high marks: Minimal nonfluencies, good vocalics, command of material, etc. In the research literature, it is a pretty robust finding that the looking away thing typically occurs when people are 1. listening carefully and/or 2. thinking carefully. It is related to cognitive load.


  30. doc holiday

    You know what really spooks me? In less than 3 years, we will all probably be blogging with video heads and looking at each other as we interact realtime face-to-face, in a world that will be far more fragmented and challenging.

    Today, I had Congress on realtime, while I typed in research from google and posted crap at CR somewhat “live” — so imagine the circus, when these events are being placed under the microscope of billions of supercomputers that will battle it out in a war between truth and lies, infotainment and illusions.

    Maybe this type of exchange by Yves today, could be expanded as a sort of conference call to include multiple economists that could debate issues in a roundtable discussion of yelling, screaming and cat-fighting (in the nude).

  31. Anonymous

    Very well done by both parties. And add me to the list of people who didn’t know Yves was female.

  32. rahuldeodhar

    Great interview – amazing scope covered really well.

    Just a little buzz on the sound – I guess ambient noise

  33. Marcf

    Quelle surprise!

    I would just point out that “Yves” is pronounced “Eve” in French. A dead giveaway.

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