News Links 02/01/2012
News links for 1 Feb 2012
- A Crisis in Two Narratives – Raghuram Rajan – Project Syndicate
The advanced countries have a choice. They can act as if all is well, except that their consumers are in a funk, and that "animal spirits" must be revived through stimulus. Or they can treat the crisis as a wake-up call to fix what debt has papered over in the last few decades. For better or worse, the narrative that persuades these countries’ governments and publics will determine their future – and that of the global economy.
- Blaming Capitalism for Corporatism – Edmund S. Phelps and Saifedean Ammous – Project Syndicate
the capitalist system has been corrupted. The managerial state has assumed responsibility for looking after everything from the incomes of the middle class to the profitability of large corporations to industrial advancement. This system, however, is not capitalism, but rather an economic order that harks back to Bismarck in the late nineteenth century and Mussolini in the twentieth: corporatism.
- Here Come the Cloud Cartels – NYTimes.com
cloud computing will come on quicker than you think, it will be controlled by a very few companies that will fight for the right to own your data
- Google to Censor Blogger Blogs on a ‘Per Country Basis’ | Threat Level | Wired.com
Google has quietly announced changes to its Blogger free-blogging platform that will enable the blocking of content only in countries where censorship is required.
- ProPublica’s Off Base Charges About Freddie Mac’s Mortgage "Bets" « naked capitalism
Now let’s turn to the bizarre ProPublica piece. It starts with the wrongheaded premise that retaining the inverse floater is unusual and a sign that Freddie is "betting against homeowners." Now it is true that owning an inverse floater means that you are happier when mortgages don’t prepay. But the GSEs in general don’t want homeowners to prepay. it is meaningless to look at the inverse floaters in isolation; you’d need to look at the composition of all of Freddie’s exposures to reach any conclusions as to what sorts of wagers, if any, they are taking. Looking at one position in isolation is meaningless.
- MoneyShow.com: Article – Savers, Save Your Breath
There’s very little overlap between those hurt by low interest rates and those truly in need, writes MoneyShow.com senior editor Igor Greenwald.
- Heard on the Street: The Negative Effect of Low Rates – WSJ.com
Crucially, the signal that persistent zero interest rates sends is a negative one: The economy remains on life support. So there is a risk they backfire, leading to higher savings, less consumption and less risk appetite, the opposite of the desired short-term result.
- Pregnant, and Pushed Out of a Job – NYTimes.com
employers are not obligated to accommodate most pregnant workers in any way
- Easy Fed Policy Sparks Bets on Inflation – WSJ.com
Many money managers said the flattening of the yield curve is a result of investors adjusting to a prolonged era of loose monetary policy. They worry that the unprecedented length and magnitude of the central bank’s monetary support may fuel inflation down the line.
- interfluidity » Is opacity an excuse?
Though it may be counterintuitive, rather than excusing misbehavior, opacity in finance implies that misbehavior of intermediaries must be policed more vigorously and punished more punitively than in a world that could be made transparent. If finance were as transparent as baseline neoclassical models suggest, there would have been no "flaw" in Alan Greenspan’s ideology, and no need to regulate markets or root out fraud.
- Dole Calls Gingrich a ‘One-Man Band’ Who Will Hurt Party – Bloomberg
Negative public perceptions of then- U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich didn’t help Republican Bob Dole in his failed 1996 presidential bid. For Dole, it’s payback time.
- Is PayPal regulated? – Quora
PayPal is subject to regulation by a variety of entities in the jurisdictions where they operate. Wikipedia has covered some of the relevant regulation/regulatory bodies