Links 2/1/09

Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning Telegraph

Fabulous Gay Penguin Parents Rewarded With Wedding Truemor

London Luxury-Homes Prices Have Second-Biggest Drop on Record Bloomberg. The biggest drop was in October.

Fisher Island: Still a Refuge, but Not From the Downturn New York Times.

Strikes spread across Britain as oil refinery protest escalates Guardian

Stiglitz Criticizes Bad Bank Plan as Swapping ‘Cash for Trash’ Bloomberg. I don’t always agree with Stiglitz, but I give him lots of credit for his willingness to cross swords with the orthodoxy.

Recession Can Change a Way of Life Tyler Cowen, New York Times

Lewis struggles to cope with latest Merrill drama Abigail Hofman Euromoney (hat tip reader Tim)

Refuted economic doctrines #5: Trickle down John Quiggin

The Consumption Collapse Continues Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Antidote du jour (hat tip for first, the two fishermen in Kyoto, reader Fritz, the second, reader Steve):

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  1. Richard Kline

    The cloning of extinct species is extremely exciting; perilous in its way, but Shiny Big Science, no question. The ibex was an enormously important game species in Mesolithic Europe, and I hope this one can be brought back.

    Regarding Stiglitz, I have appreciated nearly all of his public commentary over the last year and a half. He is willing to call a spade a spade, a turd an excreta, to do so in real time, and he has the (well-earned) stature to get himself widely quoted in doing so. If there is one academic economist capable of shifting the debate in a positive way, even just a little, he is the man, and is making the effort. If nothing else, he can give a little cover to politicos opposed to the worst ideas who want Respected Elder as a fulcrum for dissent. Rock on, Joe.

  2. Richard Kline

    Rock on Joe: Our ship of state needs to be shaken, not stirred.

    [*hee* Had to trump myself on that one.]

  3. Anonymous

    Put those cute gay little penguins in the antidote, are you kidding me?

    Little penguins born into little tuxedos for millenia, and all for this. This is God revealing the intelligent design of the universe and the divine humor driving it. They’re gay, they’re in tuxedos! Soak it up, this is it. The tuxedo/penguin mystery just revealed itself. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for baboons, platypuses, and all the other whimsical curiosities we chalk up to evolutionary quirks.

  4. Born Again Democrat

    Hey, I’m just a retired common laborer (landscaper actually) so what do I know? But if it is indeed necessary for the taxpaying public to take the hit in order to save the economy, then by all means let it be done.

    HOWEVER, once the recovery takes place (as eventually it will) let it be understood right now that a graduated consumption tax will be the future policy of this nation, that being the only fair and efficient way to tax the rich for the benefit of everyone else. (See for details, or read Irving Fisher.)

    History shows that capital is the accumulated crime and sacrifice of centuries, plus interest. (In fact that is little more than a tautology if I am not mistaken.) Let us act accordingly.

  5. doc holiday


    “To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Henry David Thoreau writes about the fault-finder who “will find faults even in paradise”.

  6. eh

    Also interesting:

    AP Investigation: Banks sought foreign workers – Bailed-out banks sought to hire 21,800 foreign workers in past 6 years

    Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications…The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP’s analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008…Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.

  7. datadave

    I have to comment on Tyler Cowin. I’ve posted a few criticisms at his site and his handler or he deleted them. I don’t think I was unnecessarily rude. But I’ve noticed him getting increasingly thin-skinned about his ideology being threatened by current realities.

    I’ll read his blog occasionally but note his prickliness and lack of character in refusing to note that his ideology might have had a few problems of late. The rest of us acknowledge we are wrong sometimes but Tyler just deletes.

    I just have to rant a bit. But am wondering why other comments such as mine are deleted there. (Greg Mankiew in comparison just avoids the whole issue by having no comments allowed, the coward’s approach?) While here (and at many left of center sites like the Nation’s) there are plenty who disagree with Yves and her compassionate form of capitalism (my sticking myself out on a limb there in describing whatever ideology she presents) but we get to read them just the same. Understandably, posts w/ profanity are probably deleted.

    If I am wrong about either impressions of two favorite bloggers that I express I’ll acknowledge an apology beforehand.

  8. Anonymous

    Hey, my comment about evolution was tongue-in-cheek. God designed penguins with ‘tuxedo’ plumage, with the ultimate goal of one day inspiring humans to marry a single gay pair of them?

  9. Yves Smith

    Anon of 3:31 PM,

    I featured Cowen because he was making a valid observation, which I did not see as ideologically driven. Agreed that his is doctrinaire, but tries to be more reasoned about it than some others of his stripe.

    I’ll admit I don’t like it when I am taken to task, even if for dubious reasons, but will usually let the post stand unless it is nasty or largely ad hominem (as well as spam or other shilling comments that don’t add to the thread).

    I’m not defending it, but some bloggers do police very actively. I’ve been told Brad DeLong deletes dissenting comments. Barry Ritholtz is generally tolerant of disagreement but is more zealous than I am about getting rid of what he calls “asshat” comments (and people who might be trying to use his site to spread market rumors).

  10. Dave Raithel

    RE the Tyler Cowan: It isn’t that his observations are not valid; it’s that he would not draw from them the same implications that I, and I suspect also Yves Smith and datadave, would draw: If being unemployed makes one healthier (as he observes the data) then there is something very wrong with the manner of employment. And so on. It’s the whole ‘well things suck but look on the bright side of it’ timbre to his analyis, and THAT does have ideological tilt. The “Austrians”, after all, normalize booms and busts. They may claim that cycles are less extreme given different policies, but fundamentally, pain to some is the necessary condition of the better good for all. So look at the bright side. When the market system fails, you are delivered from the bads which the market system previously imposed on you. Poverty may just make you feel less alienated …

    Like datadave, I periodically visit MR to see what’s up and often find interesting links, but I don’t find much in the way of counter-arguments or dissent. I’ve learned much more here than there. Still, he made some interesting observations in the most recent broadcast of “This American Life” –

    To wit: If the stimulus plan works, he’ll admit he is wrong and Keynes is right …

    RE the Stiglitz: This part caught my eye:

    “Stiglitz drew criticism from panel participant Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, who says a bad bank is necessary for lending to resume.

    ‘I agree about the moral, ethical fallout, but you’ve got to face the music and someone has to take the loss,’ said Gurria, Mexico’s former finance minister. ‘It’s the only way to jumpstart the economy.’

    Bank losses worldwide from toxic U.S.-originated assets may double to $2.2 trillion, the International Monetary Fund said in a report released Jan. 28.”

    Would a “bad bank” also take up the bad assets, of US origin, that are held by foreign banks? I can think of political reasons why this may be so – but … well, it’s a world economic system, and sovereignty is just one of those contradictions that can’t be left in the way …

  11. Dave Raithel

    One other point re Cowan: Came to mind after posting, somebody here introduced me to Dimitri Orlov’s “Closing the Collapse Gap: The USSR was better prepared for Collapse than the US”

    The best satire, of course, conveys enough truth to hurt. So anybody who wants to find the good in things going bad should be prepared to distinguish bad from worse, and why.

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