My longer form journalism reads to start your weekend:

• How Amazon Trained Its Investors to Behave (Harvard Business Review)
• North Dakota Went Boom (NYT Magazine)
• Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office? (Esquire)
• The theory of social costs: Why markets cannot discipline financial institutions (Credit Writedowns)
Bill Gates, still atoning for his sins: My Plan to Fix The World’s Biggest Problems (WSJ)
• Mel Brooks, ‘Unhinged’ And Loving It (Tri States Radio)
• Hackers in China Attacked The Times for Last 4 Months (NYT) see also WSJ too (WSJ)
• Is Scientific Truth Always Beautiful? (The Chronicle)
• How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers (Rolling Stone)
• Awaiting a New Darwin (The New York Review of Books)

What are you doing this weekend?

Where is most plastic surgery performed?

Source: The Economist

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.

27 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. Stochos says:

    I liked your byline “Bill Gates, still atoning for his sins”.

    If Microsoft under Bill Gates was company that followed the spirit and letter of the law then it would not have become as big. And Bill Gates would not have become as rich as he did. Innovation was stifled and the costs were increased because of Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices. For example, in a free market there would a version of MS Office for Linux! Microsoft is a typical rent seeking monopolist.

    The ‘negative externalities’ of Gates’ bullying and monopolising are huge and probably far bigger than the amends that he is trying to do now via his foundation.

  2. Invictus says:

    Without looking at the chart, I saw the headline to it – Where is most plastic surgery performed? – and immediately thought “that’s obvious”: boobs.

  3. econimonium says:

    I’m not clear that Mr Gates would think of what he did as “sins” as neither would I. He created a great company and made many, many people wealthy in the process as well as bringing computer forward into the hands of everyday people in a way Apple seemed incapable of doing at the time. And his business practices weren’t any different from anyone else’s (to wit, the current stupidity of the patent fight between Apple and Samsung, the very definition of “innovation stifled).”

    And unlike the selfish monomaniacal Jobs, Gates is giving away his money to help people. So who, in the end, is the better human being here? If you want to form a giant company you have to be tough, skate the outside curve of the rules, and sometimes weigh the cost of fines against the cost of business. So don’t give me this garbage about Bill Gates or “rent seeking monopolist” crap. The man was more of a genius than Jobs ever could have been, not to mention has more of a heart.

  4. willid3 says:

    always wondered how we would do without the post office. cause if FEDEX/UPS etc can’t find you, care to guess how they get your letter/packages to you? they send you a post care using the

    post office

  5. PeterR says:

    Great Esquire article on the USPS, “a network that binds us all.” Hopefully our government and the PO can implement changes to keep this network alive. They may need to heed the words of Jeff Daniels’ character here about what the greatest nation used to have (near the end):

    Mel Brooks is the best! Not sure where I learned of this Jerry Seinfeld project (I think it was here?), but the clip with Mel and Carl Reiner is hysterical and touching:

    Mr. Seinfeld is planning a new series for this Spring I believe.

    Have a good weekend.

  6. farmera1 says:

    I see Barry and Josh made the Wall Street biggest geniuses list. How many Geniuses are there on Wall Street? Seventy seven according to this list. I’m amazed.

    Wall Street’s Biggest Geniuses Reveal Their Favorite Charts Of 2012

    Read more:

    IMHO, the two most important charts are:

    75: Wages as % of the Overall Economy are at record lows and have been falling since the 1960s.
    76: Corporate Profits Relative to GDP at all time high as % of GDP and rising

    My mind went to mush trying to decipher all the charts but these two caught my attention.

  7. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @Stochos – “If Microsoft under Bill Gates was company that followed the spirit and letter of the law then it would not have become as big. And Bill Gates would not have become as rich as he did. …”

    I would have to agree with you. It looks like Microsoft used very questionable methods to obtain and leverage its monopoly, effectively diverting the profits of the PC industry toward Microsoft employees and Mr. Gates, creating many millionaires and some billionaires from the tainted profits so questionably diverted.

    Mr. Gates appears to be very aware of the damage he did to the PC industry and the non-Microsoft people in the PC industry, as he has apparently embarked upon a journey attempting to convince history that he is really A Nice Person.

  8. Francisco Bandres de Abarca says:

    Map fun!

    One can infer the amount of build-out potential there remains in vast (and not unpopulated) expanses of our planet when comparing Gbps of, say, Europe to much of Asia or Africa.

    Say . . . I’ve heard of the sponsor of that map somewhere . . .

    Elsewhere, I read that Pemex plans to increase security of it’s facilities, which might–just *might*–lead one to believe that the explosion at Pemex HQ was not a transformer or boiler explosion, as it was originally being spun.

  9. NMR says:

    Plastic surgery…..a measure of national self confidence? Interestingly, Britain (not full of the handsomest people) is pretty well at the bottom of the list of wealthy first world countries. Perhaps this why I have such a sneaking admiration for them.

  10. NMR says:

    And give Gates a break…..his commercial sins are pretty minor by comparison with Rockefeller or Carnegie and we’re still enjoying their largesse.

  11. VennData says:

    “…today, 76 percent of conservative Republicans feel threatened by the state…”

    You’re doing your job Right Wing Media Machine. These people trust these money-making corporations he have writers / actors / directors who play upon their emotions, and advertise to them…

    ROFL! You get angry and buy what they advertise to you on FOX!

  12. RW says:

    Cockroach Ideas

    Three decades ago, when I went off for my year in the U.S. government, an old hand explained to me the nature of the job: it was mostly about fighting bad ideas. And these bad ideas, he went on to explain, were like cockroaches: no matter how many times you flush them down the toilet, they keep coming back. …

    …To paraphrase an old line about Vietnam, sometimes it seems to me that we haven’t spent four years discussing the response to economic crisis; we’ve spent one year discussing the crisis, four times, with the discussion starting up each year as if nobody can remember or learn from what went before, and with constant repetition of the same old errors and fallacies.

  13. hue says:

    Who Would the Founding Fathers Deport?

    Show Me the _____: Skeetgate

    Guns & Militias: The second amendment is paired with the third amendment?

  14. VennData says:

    Bill Gates held back software development for two decades. He’s a bad guy. Period.

  15. VennData says:

    First, the GOP Media Machine wanted to distract you from the Sandy Hook Slaughter by saying it didn’t exist.

    Now they want it to be about whether the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces shoots skeet?

    You GOP voters are simply dolts.

  16. RW says:

    These days I spend a fair portion of weekend mornings just browsing the links of my favorite investing/economics ‘aggregators’ (basically 3 including TBP):

    Mark Thoma: Links for 02-02-2013

    Abnormal Returns: Saturday links

    With timeouts for life outside or a really good recreational read of course; already know I’m going to have to read the entire trilogy now that I’m into it.

  17. James Cameron says:

    Perhaps they thought that cheating was a course requirement for this particular class.

    “Students with knowledge of the situation have said the course involved in the investigation was Government 1310: Introduction to Congress. The scandal came to light when a teaching fellow noticed similarities among a number of exams in mid-May, and school officials followed up with a review of every exam in the class.”

    Harvard Students Forced to Withdraw in Cheating Scandal

  18. RW says:

    Report: Who Pays? (ITEP)

    …the report concludes that all states have regressive tax systems that ask more from low- and middle-income families than from the wealthiest. It also finds:

    - The average overall effective state and local tax rates by income group nationwide are 11.1 percent for the bottom 20 percent, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.6 percent for the top 1 percent

    - Ten states with the most regressive tax systems are: Washington, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Illinois, Tennessee, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Indiana.

    - States praised as “low tax” are often high tax states for low and middle income families.

  19. A says:

    It would be interesting to know what % of the US is tied directly to Hollywood, the land of plastic people.

  20. RW says:

    Interesting point counter point from Quartz (which itself is something of a gold mine).

    Why Facebook will never make a significant profit vs. Facebook is a goldmine in the making

  21. beaufou says:

    “The powerful documentary Inequality for All was an unexpected hit at the recent Sundance film festival, arguing that US capitalism has fatally abandoned the middle classes while making the super-rich richer.”

  22. VennData says:

    The GOP once again, do the wrong thing.

    Let’s get some standards, some hep for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and now the Washington Post from being hacked by the Chinese.

    The GOP “Stop everything Obama wants” policy has consequences. So does voting.

    Write the GOP loon you voted for and ask them to just pass Obama’s cybersecurity laws.

  23. Oral Hazard says:

    OK, so I just finished watching the excellent and exquisitely frustrating FRONTLINE “The Untouchables,” which aired last week. I feel bad for Lenny Breuer, the top DoJ prosecutor who comes off looking like a timid bag man. Ted Kaufman and the reporter mock his public statement that his fears about the economic fallout from high level criminal prosecutions of Wall Street execs, not a single one of whom have gone to jail or, it appears, have even been seriously investigated.

    Many if not most TBP readers are bright and savvy. Many are lawyers like myself.

    Here’s why Breuer was right to be timid: the conviction of a handful of top execs at each of the big firms will almost certainly destroy those firms. The reason is something lawyers will appreciate but maybe not so much non-lawyers: the preclusive effect of facts established by a criminal conviction in a subsequent civil case. Remember OJ and how he was acquitted of murder but subsequently lost the civil cases for wrongful death? Had OJ been convicted of murder, his liability in civil cases would have been nearly automatic.

    This is because the beyond a reasonable doubt standard it takes to get a criminal conviction in many cases allows facts to be imported into civil cases arising out of identical subject matter. Not so in reverse: facts established by a court after a civil verdict cannot be used to establish criminal liability.

    So if you got, for example, a criminal conviction of Robert Rubin and the other top assclowns out of the emails he ignored from the Citi Senior VP in commercial lending about widespread fraud in MBS, Citi is likely to go POOF in a flurry of civil suits arising out of fraud counts proven in a criminal proceeding. So Citi counterparties who got fucked will devour Citi about as quickly as piranhas would pick clean a cow.

    Unfortunately, the FRONTLINE doesn’t really close the loop for most viewers in this regard. Instead, Breuer looks weak and deceitful — and indeed maybe he is. But there are a lot of private civil cases currently pending against the big firms, so maybe a couple of them might die a death of a thousand cuts. But I’m not holding my breath.

    My main point is just to say Breuer knows what real successful criminal prosecution would mean and I think he’s probably right that at least a few big firms would collapse entirely as a result. Whether this kind of conflagration would be cleansing or total disaster I don’t know.

  24. “…And give Gates a break…..his commercial sins are pretty minor by comparison with Rockefeller or Carnegie and we’re still enjoying their largesse…”

    like, really?

    “…An intriguing explanation of how the US Government, politically hamstrung at home, could act with force and purpose abroad is contained in Inderjeet Parmar’s excellent Foundations of the American Century. Throughout the 20th century, Parmar argues, the weak state was supplemented by private foundations, which took on many of the functions of government. Unelected, unaccountable, and for the most part unchecked, these foundations channeled billions of dollars into positioning the United States as a world power. Immune to the vicissitudes of democratic politics, they functioned as a shadow government, implementing the goals of what C. Wright Mills called the “power elite,” the men of affairs who moved easily from corporate boardrooms to high-ranking government office, often in or around the State Department.

    These men had money, often more of it than they knew how to spend. The endowments of the big three foundations—Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford—were drawn from the immense profits of the oil, steel, and auto industries. In part, the founding of these philanthropic institutions was a public relations strategy. John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, still the first and second wealthiest men in history, had both been targeted by the press after turning armed strikebreakers on their employees…”

    yes, ‘largesse’, of course, would be one way to put it..

    dude, take a hint from the URL..