Your Humble Blogger is on Business News Network

BNN is Canada’s CNBC, and it apparently has a following in the US by virtue of having more level-headed coverage. Felix Salmon was suppose to be on as well. I’ve pinged him and told him he was missed. Some sort of technical problem, supposedly.

Picture 25

You can see the segment here.

I seem to be getting a bit better at the staring at the lens bit, but I look cranky (well readers might say I am cranky!). It was a difficult studio setup, no visual of the people in Toronto, and I was having trouble hearing the audio, so my concentrating to hear has me looking intense and a bit annoyed. So next time I need to work on smiling more.

I went straight from this to speaking at a conference on Historical Materialism. Translation: to Marxists, which in America is probably a lonely place to be. (Before readers decide to make an issue of that, I must remind you I also have also spoken at the Milken Confernce). The other two speakers, Anwar Shaikh and Gerard Dumenil, both gave good talks with impressive amounts of charts and data (yours truly is a Luddite and is very reluctant to depend on slides unless absolutely necessary. I like the idea of good old fashioned public speaking, without notes. It was considered a real skill once, and people are not as accomplished as they once were).

Although I find the capital versus labor framework a bit limiting (and apparently there are different schools of thought, the managerial elite, even if they are hired guns, are apparently considered capitalists, which makes sense). Shakih’s and Dumenil’s focus on corporate profits and trends in profit and the composition of profit over long periods of time provides insights you don’t get from mainstream economics.

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  1. nowhereman

    Welcome to Canukistan, the Great White North. As the commentator said, If your ideas were even whispered the lobbying against them would be extremely intense. Now If we could only get someone of your caliber to take on the Bank of Canada and It’s Goldman alum chair. Some crazy stuff going on here and nobody even mentions it.

  2. Doc Holiday

    That was a fine interview. The only problem was the camera lens used on you; the aspect ratio was wrong, or something like that. The material was fine, you looked fine, and that is that. Great job.

  3. dearieme

    “the managerial elite, even if they are hired guns, are apparently considered capitalists”: it’s remarkable what you can prove if you treat the meaning of words as being entirely at your disposal.

  4. Ted K

    You were TERRIFIC Yves!! I put a link up to the video on my little blog. It’s so nice to see and listen to a woman of intelligence on business TV after suffering through years of “money honeys” on CNBC. A certain air head of the Italian persuasion comes to mind. Anyway it was soooo refreshing. If I managed a TV network you would be on at least weekly and daily if we could pester you into it.

  5. kevin de bruxelles

    Great job. I loved the line about managing the big banks like public utilities. What a boner-killer that line was for our current masters of global capital commanding their empires of wealth with all the aplomb of a modern day Alexander to be suddenly reduced to nothing more than mild-mannered servants of the public good!

    Also your take on Google was a lot more in line with reality than that other commentator’s fantasy about the mighty Google bringing the mousy little Chinese government crawling to the negotiating table with their threat to leave China.

  6. Skippy

    Wonderful to see someone of the fairer persuasion speak with out giggling, smirking or positioning their deal closers for maximum camera angle.

    Yes it would have been nice to see Felix in there with you, much better synergy than the commentators provided, just doing their job I guess (peddling).

    And yes cameras are off putting, so just one note, relax body/shoulders a wee bit, think invitational posture.

    Skippy…the commentator on the right…nice snob jacket…extra lapel hole lol…wounder how many cuff buttons um 5…extra inner pockets too…one small one with button down flap ha ha ha…one that note when are camel hair jackets with suede elbow patches coming back, I love my old ones.

  7. Tom

    Hi Yves
    You were really great. Loved your smirk, your intense eyes and your demeanour. Was a delight to see you in person after reading all your blogs

  8. anon

    They are more level headed. They can be individually ditzy at times, but there’s a mitigating portfolio effect from multiple commentators. Generally pleasant people, quite well informed on the US landscape. A relatively objective reality check from typically nice Canadians.

    Salmon’s been on a number of times. As have a few others. They’re stepping up their blogger coverage, probably leading on this trend, again perhaps as result of being one step removed from the main arena.

    You did fine. You’re well dressed, which is refreshing, and good branding.

  9. Keenan


    Do not apologize for your appearance. A serious and intense demeanor is appropriate to discussions of duplicitious bankers and the continuing failure of government to address the root problems. Your on-air manner befits the gravity of the on-going financial crisis.

    You did very well.

  10. fiscalliberal

    Your forte is knowledge and logic, which is why I read you every day with Calculated Risk. If you want to go the camera route, a occasional smile might soften the look, but I still like and respect the logic first.

    When I get done reading/hearing you, I feel I understand the topic and often agree. We need more of this type of narrative

  11. Siggy

    I now have a face to go with your blog. Gives more meaning to what I read. As to appearance, your were fine. As much as I like Elizabeth Warren, I rate you equal. But then, this isn’t a contest, is it.

    When your book is in print, will it be possible to obtain a signed copy? Zandi and Elliot Janeway and few others need some female companionship on my bookshelf.

  12. R Harris

    I enjoyed the interview. You do look serious, but at least you aren’t playing with the earpiece, which often happens with BNN interviewees. Does anyone know about those earpieces? Are some better than others?

  13. Greg

    Yves said, “My concentrating to hear has me looking intense and a bit annoyed.”

    Not at all, Yves, it was excellent. Very good interview, very well said.

  14. Eagleton

    Good job, Yves, and I’m delighted to see that you’re getting more access.

    At what lefty conference were you speaking? Is a transcript available? I saw that you were interested in Brenner’s work, were you discussing him? I was impressed by his argument, though I wish he would have talked more explicitly about his shift in explaining the falling profit rate. It seems he’s bagged an emphasis on changing organic composition of capital in favor of simple overproduction.

  15. steve b


    Nice job here on BNN. [And I’ve said before and I’ll say again: You are truly a beautiful woman.]

    Thanks for your blog and hard work.

  16. LeeAnne

    Yves, great interview -I loved it. The integrity of your answers really comes across. They were as succinct and to the point as anything on the blog in spite of the pressure of sound bite timing. Really fabulous. It takes an exceptional intelligence to pull it off.

    TV needs you.

    Referring to your self criticism, its animation you need – that includes a range of expression including smiling and freeing shoulders up by moving arms and hands even when not visable on camera.

    I’m sending you an email with tips, if you don’t mind, and links to video and photos.

  17. mannoclay

    Can’t you see? Those awfully ill, emaciated, oppressed Canadians living under the heavy boot of socialized medicine. Don’t they look like demoralized East Europeans under Communism? It’s just sick I tell you, sick.

    Well, actually, that one guy’s suit could be a sign of dementia.

    Yves, you done good. It’s refreshing to see someone who is self critical after all the bimbos (male and female) that we have to put up with in the sanctioned media. Their standard of beauty (pronounced: booty) brought us Carrie Prejean. I would much rather see stern and enlightening than cute and clueless.

  18. maynardGkeynes

    Great job, but when asked the “what should be done” question, you seemed to concede too readily into the “what’s politically possible” set of solutions without at least first making the case for the solution you think is ideal. I wouldn’t concede anything yet, because the politics are still volatile. Plus, I would rather see the starting point be the ideal solution, since Obama is going to compromise from whatever the starting position is, even if it is already too compromised. That is his nature. We need you to remind the people out there what the ideal solution is to begin with.

  19. DellaTerious

    Bravo Yves. (Brava?) I agree with those who said you looked fine, and more importantly, gave a good interview. You don’t have to smile more, but then I noticed your’s isn’t one of those inappropriately tooth-baring grins, so OK, go for it, if you think it’ll help.

    Ahem … “humble blogger?” is there really any such thing?
    I must agree with Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes here:

    “I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.”

    And the sense I get from your blog is that it is intent on getting at the truth, for which I thank you very much.
    You prove that there really are some journalists left, they simply aren’t working for the print media. Congrats, you deserve it … don’t you know that?

  20. maynardGkeynes

    Having watched it again, I withdraw my 2:58 comment. You were great. It was the commentators who took you to the “it won’t happen because of the lobbyists” point.

  21. carping demon

    I agree with maynardGkeynes @ 2:58. I’ve seen you on TV a few times, and your presence on screen strongly projects that you are not someone to be gainsaid. State simply and flatly what needs to be done and let others waffle about it. Too much time is spent declaring that what should be done can’t be done. We need people like you who can just tell people what they need to do and then fold your arms and stand there looking them in the eye until they start doing it. And when they don’t, just reiterate and keep looking at them.

    I see it’s taken me so long to write this that mGk has withdrawn his comment. Ah, well. As a matter of fact, you and Elizabeth Warren would make a great good cop bad cop team.

  22. carping demon

    I, too, would like to hear your thoughts about Brenner’s “Economics of Global Turbulence”. It outlines a pattern to events of the last forty years that I had not seen.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m only part way through it (it is pretty dense, not style wise, but information wise). The framing of the inquiry, which is to look at corporate profit trends, I gather is a Marxist staple (which I find amusing, since investment analysts do the same thing, but over shorter time horizons). It’s similar to the ideas of Thomas Palley, except Palley sees the shift to a new paradigm (more leverage) starting in the early 1980s, while Brenner sees it as starting earlier.

  23. maynardGkeynes

    @carping demon: Not that Yves would care what I think anyway, but perhaps what I would say in agreement with you and my earlier comment is that the commentators are happy talkers and tend to take one off message, and Yves, being a gracious individual, was not as obnoxious as I would have liked her to be, but then she wouldn’t have been Yves. When I watched it again, I saw that she did make her points quite well, just not as aggressively as I would have liked when they went the other direction.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the kind remark. Truth be told, my father’s family is old WASP (that does NOT mean distinguished or important) and WASPs are not good at escalating. They just look appalled and expect the other person not to force them to be more explicit.

      Plus it is more difficult for women to push back. Much more socially acceptable to interrupt a woman. I don’t get that treatment as much as most do, but one transgendered academic (female to male) asked what the biggest difference was. He said it was that he could finish sentences without being interrupted. (He also found a lot of people assuming his papers written when he was female as being written by a sister, and frequently commenting, “oh, that Donald is SO much better than his sister Diana”).

      So a woman often has to push back harder just to be heard, and if you push too hard, it is easy to be discounted as argumentative, or worse, emotional or bitchy.

  24. run75441

    Hi Yves:

    You did look a tad uncomfortable and on edge. The red and the black are stark. Try softer colors. In any event, you made your points which came across as being made by someone knowledgeable. No suprise there.

    Nice job!!!!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I actually look best in strong colors. “Softer” colors make me look decidedly unhealthy. But it was a good thought.

      1. run75441


        Regardless, I was listening to the message and it is Winter so eveyone looks a little pale. In Summer, I turn too dark so much a friend of mine remarked how I look like the native population.

        You got your message across.

  25. Mary Ann

    Yves, please! Why is it that women being interviewed feel they must smile? Do you see men smiling? No! Pelosi drives me crazy with all those teeth showing.

    Your comments are always interesting – try working on feeling relaxed.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I took a course on being on TV a LONG time ago. You are supposed to smile on TV. Look at the video. Both men are smiling a lot. This is a TV thing, not a gender thing. Walter Cronkite smiled, remember? It was wry and understated, but a smile nevertheless. And he was the most trusted man in America.

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