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Links 3/31/09

A Census Taker for Penguins in Argentina New York Times

Woman who plays classical music to soothe horses told to get licence Telegraph

Merrill socked with $39.8 million arbitration ruling Investment News

CEO Change Begs Question About Banks Wall Street Journal (hat tip reader Don). I’ll admit to having only a limited sample, but this is just about the only mention I’ve seen of the disparity between how Big Auto and Big Finance are being treated.

Mark-to-Market Lobby Buoys Bank Profits 20% as FASB May Say Yes Bloomberg (hat tip reader Paul)

Oil Price Breakdown Inside Futures (hat tip reader Michael). Chinese demand down 15% v. last year.

Financial Rescue Approaches GDP as U.S. Pledges $12.8 Trillion Bloomberg

OECD predicts 10% jobless rate for 2010 Financial Times. This is “practically with no exceptions”. Kiss the idea of a recovery in equities goodbye.

Blogging From Inside AIG: Exec Says Everyone Else Is Lying Clusterstock

Majors at Harvard Greg Mankiw.

ABC: FBI & Prosecutors “Closing In” on AIG’s Cassano Paul Kedrosky

PM tells Canada’s banks to expand overseas Financial Times. One of the big things that kept Canada’s banks out of trouble was its regulators discouraging international forays. Iceland, England, and Switzerland show the danger of having an overlarge banking sector relative to GDP.

Bond Bailout Independent Accountant

Do Obama Administration Officials Think That Krugman is Naive, or Do They Just Say That to Naive Reporters? Dean Baker. I must confess I must be the only person in the blogosphere not to have read the Newsweek cover story on Krugman, but it sounds as if the piece dissed him. Krugman ought to be relieved. That treatment may spare him the magazine cover curse.

The fiscal stimulus debate: “Bone-headed” and “Neanderthal”? Volker Wieland, VoxEU. Argues for much lower stimulus multipliers.

Financing the Empire Michael Hudson, Counterpunch. A bit rambling, but highlights the differences in US vs. European views of the crisis.

Antidote du jour:

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15 comments

  1. Independent Accountant

    YS:
    Doesn’t anyone at Harvard major in Mathematics or the “Hard Sciences” anymore?

    “But the Wagoner ouster will inevitably raise the question of why an auto executive has been pushed out while the leaders of such financial titans as Citigroup and Bank of America remain in place, even after taking much larger doses of federal rescue funds”, Gerald Seib at the WSJ, 31 March 2009. Why indeed.

  2. dearieme

    That Harvard list is extraordinary. Apart from a couple of bioscience subjects that may be (please excuse an ignorant foreigner) intended as pre-medical, where are the intellectually serious subjects? The contrast with, for instance, Cambridge or Oxford is extraordinary. How about Yale, Princeton, Stanford etc? Does anyone in the US do Engineering, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and so on? Or the more demanding language degrees? If so, where? MIT?

  3. Anonymous

    That Harvard list is extraordinary. Apart from a couple of bioscience subjects that may be (please excuse an ignorant foreigner) intended as pre-medical, where are the intellectually serious subjects? The contrast with, for instance, Cambridge or Oxford is extraordinary. How about Yale, Princeton, Stanford etc? Does anyone in the US do Engineering, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and so on? Or the more demanding language degrees? If so, where? MIT?

    ———

    Not many people go into engineering or sciences because outsourcing and offshoring of jobs have destroyed wages in those fields. People go where the money is.

  4. Ken

    I think some of you are missing the point of a Harvard education. It all goes back to the 19th century English system. One did not read classics at Oxford, expecting to make a career from teaching the classics. One read classics at Oxford in order to meet the other people reading classics at Oxford, and thereby build the connections which would allow you to make a career.

  5. Anonymous

    I think some of you are missing the point of a Harvard education. It all goes back to the 19th century English system. One did not read classics at Oxford, expecting to make a career from teaching the classics. One read classics at Oxford in order to meet the other people reading classics at Oxford, and thereby build the connections which would allow you to make a career.

    ——

    Exactly right. No need to meet or socialize with engineers, or learn their technical skills. No money in that, thanks to trade and immigration policy.

  6. Economic Darwinism

    Hi Yves,

    I’ll admit to having only a limited sample, but this is just about the only mention I’ve seen of the disparity between how Big Auto and Big Finance are being treated.

    Barry had a post about it:

    Wagoner Out at GM
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/03/wagoner-out-at-gm/

    Tech Ticker also got in on it:

    Double Standard: Banks (and Bank CEOs) Getting Off Easy vs. Automakers
    http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/222094/Double-Standard-Banks-(and-Bank-CEOs)-Getting-Off-Easy-vs.-Automakers;_ylt=AgmyGdLxEl_D3qBpwoompR1k7ot4?tickers=GM,JPM,BAC,^DJI,XLF,FAS,F

  7. kfunck1

    I just wanted to say that I think the Bloomberg story about the potential for 20% (or 70% in some cases) changes in bank’s reported NI is grossly inaccurate. Those numbers, at least as presented in the story, are based off of them reporting $0.00 in losses for all marked assets. I find that highly unlikely.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It’s hard to imagine, but true though, that the chimp in the picture is smarter than college students, including those at Harvard, I presume.

    Google it; the study came out last year.

    As for the woman playing classical music, sorry, noises, to try to sooth horses – I could be wrong, but I think that’s just human arrogance. The most soothing music, I believe, would a recording of mother horses snoring. In fact, if Wall Street had played recordings of human mothers snoring at its scheming boardrooms, perhaps we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now.

  9. Jon H

    For what it’s worth, the neurobiology lab I work in at Harvard Medical School is full of grad students and postdocs who didn’t go to Harvard for their undergrad. MIT, Dartmouth, Berkeley, etc.

  10. Anonymous

    Are economists edible?

    I find them quite tasty with maple syrup. Then again, I eat them for breakfast.

  11. Anonymous

    Michael Hudson’s piece is a must-read.
    The basic point is that due to its military power, other countries end up financing the U.S.’s expansion of its military powers. These military powers in turn compel other countries to keep getting and reinvesting dollars to their detriment, and for the U.S. to consolidate its economic power.

    It seems to point to the principle that other countries will have share any inflation the U.S. creates, thereby mitigating the inflationary effects of printing money. Therefore, one might say the currency markets overreacted several weeks ago to Bernake’s decisions about QE.

  12. gordon

    The Bloomberg piece on the bailout being $12.8 trillion calculates that “The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S….”

    So somebody familiar with the proportion of the US pop. in the workforce might calculate how many unemployed people the Govt. could employ for how many years at, say, $42,000 a year.

    If the money the US Govt. is channelling into Wall St. rescues were to be used to employ unemployed people, there wouldn’t be a depression.

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