These are the long form reads I simply did not get to this week. They are my weekend reading:

• Researching Equity Managers and Mutual Funds (Litman Gregory)
• Europe’s Banks Turned to Safe Bonds and Found Illusion (NYT)
• Why the Rich Get More Time With Congresspeople (WSJ)
• Swallowing Austerity Turns Into Irish Way as Strikes Grip South (Bloomberg)
• Obama’s Flunking Economy: The Real Cause (NY Review Of Books)
• A Gold Rush of Subsidies in the Search for Clean Energy (NYT)
• Steve Jobs’ Liberal, Hippie Education (Forbes)
• Google’s Chief Works to Trim a Bloated Ship (NYT)
• Americanisation survey: the results (Economist)
• Eddie Murphy: The Rolling Stone Interview (Rolling Stone)

What’s on your Instapaper?


Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. Doofus says:

    The cartoon you posted highlights a key dichotomy, and to some extent, some cognitive dissonance, both for me personally and for the US culturally/politically.

    I have often wailed in silence at the exorbitant sums of money employed by politicians during campaigns, wondering how these unimaginably huge sums of money could be “better” spent elsewhere: infrastructure? education? reducing the crushing effects of poverty? improving health care? preserving more natural spaces?

    This list is essentially endless.

    But the plain fact of the matter is, that people, and, lest we forget, corporations, are putting their money where they believe it will be most effectively employed.

    Term limits would immediately improve the situation in the political sphere (as far as the point of the cartoon goes). It would not eliminate it, as there would still be utility to be purchased via donations to political campaigns.

    But the question of choice is part of the fabric of our economy. No matter how vigorously we may rail against others’ choices, that ability to choose for one’s self is central to our system of commerce.

  2. tball says:

    @Doofus: Good points, but I think the country would be much better off if the choices you rightly defend were fully disclosed and limited in dollar amounts. We need an amendment limiting campaign donations to private individuals and for those donations to be fully and completely disclosed by any and all entities spending money for political purposes. Let’s make it so the supreme court cannot screw it up by tacitly lifting the free speech “rights” of those with billions over those of ordinary individuals.

  3. tball says:

    By the way, another effective cartoon idea might have been to ask what if all the money spent on tax cuts went to infrastructure.

  4. mathman says:

    An industry panel recommends fracking be carefully monitored and regulated to ensure we aren’t precipitating environmental disaster:

  5. scottinnj says:

    Here is the latest from the amazing Garfunkel & Oates – “Save the Rich” (NSFW)

  6. reedsch says:

    Conventional efforts will generate conventional results.

    “BIBO (Bounded Input Bounded Output) precisely defines stability in Control Systems Engineering. Understanding BIBO as applied to money systems, will explain why everything we have been conditioned to believe about money is mathematically absurd and utter nonsense. Understanding BIBO as applied to money is the only means to free humanity from the grips of a criminally negligent political class manipulated by a lunatic financial elite that while never stopping talking about reaching system “stability”, are utterly clueless as to what “stability” means, because otherwise the current financial crisis would be over in a weekend if it were to have happened at all.”

    The Kansas City school of economics is becoming quite interesting!

  7. econimonium says:

    Doofus, I’m not sure of your point. If corporations put *their* money into destroying the environment for profit, we stop that don’t we? If they put it into union busting we stop that don’t we? If they try to put it into dangerous or destructive mining projects we stop that too don’t we? So who says that *corporations* are allowed to put money wherever they want? Or are you with Romney et al that companies are people too?

    For me this election really comes down to a fine point that gets lost on some, and that’s the ability to appoint judges and supremes. Look at the current roster of shame on that court! From bizarre campaign finance laws to companies are people too, this court doesn’t need another mental midget (Thomas) or stubborn Italian living in the 13th century. Clearly we need to flush these people out of all layers of the judiciary if we’re going to move forward as a nation and truly interpret laws that pave the way to our future and not try to revive the robber baron past. For this reason alone I won’t vote for a Republican, even though there is an R next to my voting status. Even I recognize that the only way to bring the party back to being fiscally conservative (in a good way) and socially liberal (now meaning just stop getting involved in everyone’s day to day life instead of backing things like “personhood” as a zygote…lunacy personified) is to completely decimate them at the next election.

    Then and only then will they stop the pandering to crazy people and the over-reach. Seriously, it’s the only way to send these people back to the late stone age where they get the book with their information.

  8. Greg0658 says:

    OnT cartoon .. loopback chains of our interconnected society .. the company towns scenario .. campaign $s into graphic & electronic media; patents; high fliers & their producers; motion picture writeoffs & workcations; illegalities that promote safety & kickback to justice depts; Vets with training, discipline & insurance; 65+ Medicare receivers at work in private sector/balanced against return of salary into the company town

    last but not the least .. strategic repossessions so the same item can be sold again

    crafty we are .. go get looped
    eco – do we ? where is that quote – if a guys well being depends on blindness

  9. “…We’ve had enough of the official mantra: Work more, enjoy less, pollute more, eat toxic foods and suffer illnesses, all for the sake of increasing the gross domestic product. Why not learn ways to work less and enjoy it more; spend more time with our friends and families; consume, pollute, destroy and owe less; and live better, longer and more meaningfully? To do all this, we need fresh solutions that engage America’s people in redefining goals for the economy (what we want from it) as opposed to the economy’s goals (what it demands from us).

    An Economy Based on Quality of Life
    Although an economy based on a high quality of life that makes people happy may sound revolutionary, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, enshrined the pursuit of happiness as a human right when he drafted our Declaration of Independence. Jefferson emphasized that America’s government was, “to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible for the general mass of those associated under it.” Likewise, the Constitution of the United States declares that government is to promote, among other things, the general welfare of the people…”

    “To help people understand how the global financial system affects their well being, I came up with a very simple quality-of-life index based on one question: what percentage of the people in your place believe that a child can leave their home, go to the nearest place to buy a popsicle or other snack, and return home alone safely?

    Your answer gives you the Popsicle Index or Solari Index of your place.

    The Popsicle Index is the % of people who believe a child can leave their home, go to the nearest place to buy a popsicle or snack, and come home alone safely. For example, if you feel that 50% of your neighbors believe a child in your neighborhood would be safe, then your Popsicle Index is 50%. The Popsicle Index is based on gut level feelings of the people who have intimate knowledge of a place, rather than facts and figures.

    The purpose of the Popsicle Index is to inspire continous conversation and learning in every neighborhood and village on earth about what it means to feel safe and secure where you live and work, to be phyically free to wander and roam without concern and to identify and shift the people and things that contribute or drain that feeling…”

    Mr. & Mrs. MutFund/401(k) (di-)vestor is, literally, Paying for the construction of their Destruction.

    “Welding their own Manacles, never, even, learning how to Light a Torch..”

    Economics is not Finance.

    Finance is not Economics.

    Finance is, merely, a part of Economics.

    the Conflation, of the two, has been “The Big Lie”..

  10. yon’ QOTD..

    “An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be.”

    re.. the ol’ ‘Glass half-full/half-empty’-notion..

    Take a Deep Breath..

    the Glass is Always Full.

    the, only, Question is “of What?”

    “Mad. Ave.” may be, just a contraction..but, it serves to contract our Awareness.. #3 a.

  11. eliz says:

    re: ” Obama’s Flunking Economy: The Real Cause (NY Review Of Books)”

    Ezra Klein = Obama apologist

    NOBama for me in 2012. (I won’t be voting for some RepublicRAT either.)

    Obama has done virtually nothing except appease the banksters, and Suskind is correct in his assessment of Geithner as one of the core villians in this saga. Yet Timmy-the-tax-cheat is still at Obama’s side.

    I’m with Bill Black, that both Geithner and Holder need to go, along with Bernanke. However, we know that won’t happen. Obama is either too weak or too smitten with them to give them the boot, and that is bad for the 99%.

    Bill Black at OWS:!

  12. woodhenge says:

    congrats Barry on continuing to expose the Big Lie.

    Rolling Stone on how the GOP became the party of the one%:

  13. RW says:

    Re-reading the CBO Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal years 2011 to 2021 mainly to stay anchored in what the professionals are saying as the rivers of corporate and Tea Party bullshit flow by.

    Interspersed with some amusement: Hayek vs. Keynes Rap! (ht Devin)

  14. crutcher says:

    The cartoon here is off point. The money spent in elections in the US is actually minuscule relative to GDP. Americans spend about $500 million per year on chewing gum. That’s a ball park figure for what the contenders for president will spend. And that’d be less than 0.5% of the federal deficit. A strange argument that money is not yet important enough in politics!

  15. Doofus says:

    @tball: My point was not specifically about political donations. I secretly cringe when I consider how much time, money, and sweat are exerted on, for example, professional sports, which I consider to be another wasteful use of resources. Inaugural balls? Holiday parades? My secret disdain for these and other frivolous (non-productive) pursuits results from my preferences – I would prefer to see some of those resources applied to <insert list here>. My point was simply that though I might prefer these huge sums of money – some of them drawn from public funds – applied elsewhere, it’s not my choice.

    @econimonium: We collectively do make choices about practices that are demonstrably injurious, that result in the infringement upon the rights of others, or are detrimental to the public good. One could certainly make the case that corporate donations to politicians have been and continue distorting the democratic process, and thus are detrimental to the public good. Unfortunately, by the same criteria, personal donations distort the democratic process; the difference is simply a matter of degree. Comprehensive electoral process reform was not the subject of my post.

    My point was more about the fact that, borrowing from Voltaire, if you want to spend your money in a particular way, I may not like it, I may think it downright repulsive, but I will defend your right to purchase the utils you prefer (not including illegal or harmful purchases, for which we have a political/legal/judicial process).

  16. escapeartist says:

    First off, let me say thanks for providing such an insightful, educational, and down-to-earth blog. I’ve been a daily lurker since I undertook to teach myself analysis/economics/trading earlier this year. I worked for several years as a Registered Rep for a TBTF (at least, that is, until I grew tired of seeing employees treated with much the same level of disregard as the customers). That said, I am still very much a complete noob to the incredibly complex twin worlds of global economics and global finance.

    Lately I’ve been taking advantage of my weekend hours (while dealing with the deluge of walnuts from my backyard that require peeling) to catch up on all the documentaries I haven’t got around to yet this year. I finally finished Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money (started more than a year ago).

    I’m currently working on the second Zeitgeist movie:

    If you have a couple three hours laying around, I’d love to get your take on it.

  17. Jojo says:

    The easy way to cut spending on political campaigns would be to shorten the length of time that they are allowed to run. Many countries do this now:

    Duration of Official Campaigns

    Official campaigns are usually brief in most of the countries surveyed. In Australia, federal election campaigns are traditionally approximately six weeks and voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens above the age of eighteen. In France, the President’s campaign only lasts for the two weeks preceding the first ballot and, if necessary, the week between the two ballots, while in the case of elections to the National Assembly, the campaign opens twenty days before the date of the first ballot. In the United Kingdom, the campaign period is typically five to six weeks. In Israel, it lasts 101 days prior to the date when the Knesset election takes place as scheduled, four years from the day on which the previous Knesset was elected.

    Early elections may result in a different duration. However, in Germany, federal law does not contain provisions limiting the duration of election campaigns. According to the Federal Constitutional Court, the day on which the Federal President announces the date of the election is of significance, as from that day to election day, the executive branches of the federation and the states must be particularly careful to remain neutral. This announcement is usually made six months before the election.

    But good luck trying to do this in the USA. Think of all the talking heads and political pundits that would be out of work. And of course all the political advertising $$ that media outlets would lose. No, a snowball in hell would have a better chance.

  18. rktbrkr says:

    Caio Silvio,

    I can’t imagine a technocrat lasting long as top dog in Italy, time for the Northern league to ratchet up the pressure for an Italian breakup. My wife asked me if they would have an election in libya, i said the election didn’t matter the toughest guy would end up on top, same will be true in Italy but without bloodshed – probably!