Links 9/30/09

New Botnet May Have Infected Half of Fortune 1000 PC Magazine (hat tip reader John Doe)

Alternative Energy Projects Stumble on a Need for Water New York Times. Looking at energy and water in isolation from each other is sure to lead to sub-optimal solutions. Although water rights have long been contested in the Southwest, this piece illustrates a much broader issue.

IMF to raise world economic growth forecast: paper Reuters

Plenty More Bank Losses Expected Globally Wall Street Journal versus IMF cuts global debt writedown estimate to $3.4 trillion Reuters. Just so you know, tier 1 capital of the top thousand banks in the world is a bit north of $4 trillion and most of the losses were replenished by governments, so the credit crisis was a bit of a wipeout, in case you had any doubts on that front.

Home prices stabilized, but… James Hamilton, Econbrowser

The genuine nobility of manufacturing Luke Johnson, Financial Times

Vanilla is a commodity Steve Waldman

CMBStress resumes FT Alphaville

Antidote du jour:


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  1. DownSouth

    Luke Johnson, Financial Times said: “Meanwhile, in the UK, our largest industry is financial services: what reputation does that profession have among the public? I would think it ranks alongside grave-robbing and arson in general esteem.”

    Man, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The “lords of property and their paid liars and bumsuckers” (Orwell) have responded by moving the losses of the financial sector over to the balance sheet of the public and, as we saw on the University of Pittsburgh last Friday night, by substituting violence for their waning power, authority and legitimacy. But, as Taleb points out, this has solved nothing, the risks that caused the global crisis are “still with us.”

    While we may be able to tread water here for a while, that lead anchor tied to our ankle called excessive debt will eventually drag us under. TPTB will certainly respond by turning up the violence even more, but, as Hannah Arendt so aptly pointed out: “The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world.” The end result will be that those in the financial sector will be lucky to get out with their skins intact. And when this happens, everyone, including not only those good actors in the financial sector but the public in general, will lose.

    How it is that so few in the financial services sector are, and historically always have been, unable to see the consequences of their actions is beyond comprehension. Has it never occurred to them that this time around they might not hit the lottery and have brilliant operatives like FDR and John Maynard Keynes surface to snatch their sorry necks from the guillotine? They put a tremendous amount of faith in the ability of our institutions to quell violent backlashes.

  2. Peripheral Visionary

    I liked the Vanilla Is a Commodity entry. I think the whole point of the “weights and measures” clause in the Constitution is to enable commerce by allowing for easy comparability among products. While I’m cautious about financial service providers being absolutely required to offer a certain product, I think at a minimum they should be required to clearly label their products, so that consumers know when they’re getting a standard commodity product and when they’re getting something “custom”.

  3. Justicia

    There have been several good articles on water as a limiting factor for energy production. It’s not just solar energy that’s impacted. Thermo-electric power is equally vulnerable as heat waves in Europe and water shortages in the southeastern U.S. have shown.

    A.S. Stillwell, C.W. King, et al, “Energy-Water Nexus in Texas,” Univ. of Texas and EDF (2009)

    B. Griffiths-Sattenspiel and W. Wilson, “The Carbon Footprint of Water,” River Network (2009)

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