Links 4/28/09

Shark fins protection welcomed BBC. Sharks are alpha predators, so their importance is well out of proportion to their numbers.

Dumped pets pay price of recession Guardian

Dying is no reason to give up online social life The Daily Record

Man Downloads Movie While In Mexico, Receives $62,000 Wireless Bill Consumerist. Ouch

Monetarism Defiant City Journal. A chat with Anna Schwartz.

Warehouse club: How fewer warehouse lending lines hurts those searching for a mortgage MarketWatch

China Faces a Grad Glut After Boom at Colleges Wall Street Journal. This isn’t the first report of high unemployment among new graduates. The interesting bit is that some of the colleges weren’t providing great education either.

How financial stress spreads – A first comprehensive look at the current crisis Ravi Balakrishnan, Stephan Danninger, Selim Elekdag, and Irina Tytell, VoxEU

Potential Economic Costs Of Next Flu Pandemic Boom2Bust. I have an appetite for drama, but frankly, I’d find it more useful if someone pencilled out a higher probability scenario too. SARS killed 800 people. What might the economic consequences be if we had a serious outbreak (5000 deaths) but not a pandemic? I can still see a lot of economic damage (shopping, entertainment and travel take hits). Here is a first cut from Bruce Krasting.

Value for value Steve Waldman

Row with emerging nations threatens IMF’s cash call Independent. We pointed out that there was no guarantee that the funds pledged to the IMF at the G20 would come through.

AIG’s Fall: Bad Business Or Criminal Acts? CBSNews (hat tip reader Carrick).

How libertarian dogma led the Fed astray Henry Kaufman, Financial Times.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Andrew Bissell

    On “how libertarian dogma led the Fed astray”:

    The author basically bemoans how the Fed allowed the creation of a lot of easy credit, but that was the *entire point* of the Fed’s existence! The Fed exists to transfer wealth from savers to large banks and the government by inflating the money supply and providing easy credit. It’s been an anti-libertarian project from Day One.

    My second major concern about the conduct of monetary policy is the Fed’s prevailing economic libertarianism. At the heart of this economic dogma is the belief that markets know best and that those who compete well will prosper, while those who do not will fail.Uh, no. This was obviously not the Fed’s M.O. when they were juicing the markets with liquidity and providing the Greenspan Put. Operating under the too big to fail doctrine, they bailed out failed enterprises over and over and over again. Kaufman of course glosses over this point after rehearsing six incredibly tired anti-libertarian arguments. It’s especially disingenuous for Kaufman to spew this bilge when a basically libertarian fellows like Jim Grant and Robert Prechter were pointing out the dangers the Fed’s liquidity backstops and guarantees were creating in the asset markets for nigh on 20 years now. Where the hell was Kaufman on this while he was serving on the board of Lehman Brothers?

    Fifth, adherence to economic libertarianism inhibited the Fed from using the bully pulpit or moral suasion to constrain market excesses. It is difficult to believe that recourse to moral suasion by a Fed chairman would be ineffective.What bollocks. You know the bear market’s got a lot further to run when guys like Kaufman still think that a few words from an egghead Fed Chairman’s podium has the power to steer the markets one way or another.

  2. Richard Kline

    Vesper’s Whisper: Time’s the World’s King

    2 Whispers 1 Tracery 09

    Late light in beck-flow beyond the trees,
    bells sounding;
    The crooked languor of a blossom’s fall,
    to April’s trace (the kiss of no kiss):
    A time begins, a story ends, the daytime bends
    into its evening.
    Buds ping gay there’s more to come, come see.
    Yesterdays sigh,

    And say, Once such were we:
    Spring blades and flower maids,
    the building minutes throng;
    Every evening a beginning, never morning
    parting’s ending, only the stars setting;
    All the world’s hardness supple,
    plush with the new; ascending.
    Stay with it while you can, your vernal spray;
    your youth’s no-memory;

    Your birthdays far apart and free, long spending,
    one from one and special.
    What’s left to me of Sunday’s smile
    goes on with Spring’s sun, walking slow
    Down the new trees past me, through,
    answering another’s whistle.
    I’ll keep instead this candled sky, its pellucid piri’s-play,
    its flag you’ve yet to follow;

    Keep its truth-rust in my pocket,
    out day’s gate of understanding;
    Take its guileless, crushing revelation:
    Time’s the World’s King.

    —one crystaled hour’s view ‘midst many
    in the back room, Cafe Presse

  3. skippy

    Nicest words/colors I’ve had to the pleasure to view in a while Richard, thank you.

    Skippy…refresting, is it not.

  4. danps

    Hi Yves. Seen this?

    “The banking industry has lobbied fiercely against cram down, but Durbin said on the Senate floor Monday night that the compromise was supported by Citigroup, which has been at the negotiating table.”

    It now appears to be unremarkable for financial services companies to be in the room with legislators as bills are hammered out. It strikes me as outrageously undemocratic but more and more it seems to be blandly reported as part of the process.

  5. skippy

    Swine flu’s economic danger is much higher than the death component, if 30% of population become ill with in months of each other, it will cost Government money, FED and Local, already stressed individuals and family’s to higher levels of default or hasten/weaken their positions.

    Individuals concerned about the death rate should take a breath and relax, statistics of infected vs mortum are not yet compiled, in fact the present view is many more unreported cases have occurred with out reporting due to location (semi remote) and identification (A-typical respiratory infection vs swine flu) of illness at local health facility.

    I would point out this article from American scientific on tamiflu though.

    skippy…your health, is your most important investment.

  6. Doc Holiday


    The following hits on some of the future economic impacts from this situation:

    Hog farmers who have been battered by rising feed prices are now faced with plummeting hog prices driven in part by misconceptions about the relationship of Swine Flu to eating pork and recent import bans on raw U.S. pork by some countries.

    This economic crisis may end up having Great Depression-like food anomalies, perhaps not too different than the unpredicted Dust Bowl … this got me thinking about quantity supply and quantity demand dynamics and how this flu could tip the balance for inflation.

    These immense dust storms–given names such as "Black Blizzards" and "Black Rollers"–often reduced visibility to a few feet (around a meter). The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2), centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.[2] The Dust Bowl was an ecological and human disaster caused by misuse of land and years of sustained drought. Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes…

    >> I hope not!

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