To start your Saturday off, here are some of my favorite longer form reads of the week:

Greed is Groupon: Can anyone save the company from itself? (The Verge)
• How to Score an Office Wife (GQ)
Bar Examined: The Lawyer Bubble/A Profession in Crisis (The Washington Monthly)
• The Day My Grandfather Groucho and I Saved ‘You Bet Your Life’ (boing boing)
• China’s Military Development, Beyond the Numbers (The Diplomat)
• The Blind Man Making The World’s Best Glacial Vodka (Outside)
• How Benjamin Franklin Invented the Mail-Order Business (Echoes)
Regrettable: The troubling things I learned when I re-reported Bob Woodward’s book on John Belushi (Slate)
• The Long Journey of Blue Jeans (Vice)
Washed Away: Japan’s Atlantis (Boston Review)

What’s up for the weekend?

 

Stockmarkets are back to (or close to) their pre-crisis levels

Source: 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.

21 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. Mike in Nola says:

    The Lawyer Bubble is right on point. My daughter has a huge loan and is working as a paralegal. But she is making more than some of her classmates who have jobs as lawyers. When she started law school they told her and the other students not to worry about signing for all those loans; they would make plenty to cover it.

    And the frauds at her law school keep cranking out hundreds more per year using the law school as a profit center courtesy of federal student loans. One law professor there who is supposed to be a big ethics expert candidly explained it at continuing education seminar a few years ago. As a contrast, he cited music students who need a very low student teacher ratio if they are to learn instruments. But they can pack 50 law students in an auditorium for one class and charge them $30k+ each per year. Yet he does not protest the situation because he is being well paid by it.

  2. PeterR says:

    Thanks for a good assortment of reads. Sobering and mind-numbing is the the Boston Review’s piece about the Fukushima tsunami wiping that village off the face of the earth.

    One photo resembles parts of Long Island after Sandy.

    Whatever the threat — earthquake/tsunami or hurricane storm surge — it is good to be reminded that we keep building too close to the shore for our own well being.

    Have a good weekend.

    PS — One of your reads from earlier this week was a similarly sobering assessment of the Fukushima nuclear plants, and the possibility/likelihood that further catastrophic damage may be lingering there. Yikes!

  3. gordo365 says:

    Love the Groucho Marx story. Thank you.

  4. ilsm says:

    Who is worried about China?

    2012 expenditures as part of GDP:

    US: 4.7
    China: 2.1
    Japan: 1.0
    S Korea: 2.7
    Taiwan: 2.1
    Vietnam 2.5
    Phillipines; .8

  5. b_thunder says:

    Bank holiday, bank deposit confiscation in Cyprus:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-16/euro-area-takes-aim-at-depositors-in-cyprus-bailout.html

    “Cyprus will impose a levy of 6.75 percent on deposits of less than 100,000 euros — the ceiling for European Union account insurance — and 9.9 percent above that.”

    If EU can confiscate 6.75% and 9.9% in Cyprus now, what prevents them from confiscating it tomorrow in another “sovereign” country? Imagine the size of bank runs and damage to the economy if during Lehman collapse the FDIC issued a similar confiscation order? I’ll be watching Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal in the coming days…

    And the last thing: while mom&pop savers get screwed yet again (after all 6% is what my parents were getting on their CDs before Bernanke robbed them of 5pct/year for 4 years running) 9.9% fee on large deposits is not such a great fee to launder dirty russian cash. This is roughly what HSBC charges, right?

  6. S Brennan says:

    I read the Washington Monthly Bar Examined By Elizabeth Lesly Stevens with great interest. I wonder how lawyers would feel if, in addition to woes brought on by predatory law firms, the US Government were to import some 450,000 competitors* every year through a plethora of H1-B’s, H2′s, L-1′s, TN’s and O’s in order to decimate wages further…that is what is being done to science & engineering professionals. But perhaps, I do not need to ask, as congress is almost 100% lawyers and they are the ones doing the decimating.

    *Who for the most part receive their education for free at a governments expense. In fact, India has filed a complaint with WTO in order to “force” the US to allow an unlimited number of Indian engineering & science graduates to come to the US.

    Why does this make long term economic sense to India? Because each graduate sends a considerable portion of US salary back to India and each facilitates a technology transfer that can be used or sold on the world market.

    Why does this make long term economic sense to the USA, it doesn’t, but US congressmen are of loose morals and easy to bribe, US firms file quarterly reports, CEO visions similarly short.

  7. RW says:

    Deciphering Dynamic Asset Allocation: Lessons From Perold and Sharpe (ht AR)

    …the relative performance of a strategy is inversely proportional to the general demand for that strategy: when it is least popular to be tactical, it is likely that tactical will outperform. In contrast, when it is least popular to be passive or hold a strategic asset allocation it is most likely that these will outperform.

  8. S Brennan says:

    When you own the means of production, a lot can change, in a very short time. Andrew Erickson and Adam Liff ignore the primary lesson of WWII in “China’s Military Development, Beyond the Numbers”, it’s not what have now that matters, it’s what you can produce and how well can adapt production to suit the ever changing requirement of high intensity conflict carried out over a period of years.

    “The U.S. Army was a puny weakling when the war began. When the European war began in earnest on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, the U.S. Army ranked seventeenth among armies of the world in size and combat power, just behind Romania. It numbered 190,000 soldiers. (It would grow to 8.3 million in 1945, a 44-fold increase.)…Some American coastal defense guns had not been test fired in 20 years, and the Army lacked enough antiaircraft guns to protect even a single American city.” http://www.fpri.org/footnotes/1415.200905.atkinson.usarmywwii.html

    The whole article is well worth reading

  9. S Brennan says:

    It’s been known since 1994, but bears repeating:

    President Lyndon Johnson’s caught Richard Nixon red handed sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks…a move that cost the US the lives of 30,000 soldiers and 4 years of war in order to secure Nixon’s election in 1968. The final terms of the 1972 peace agreement were identical to what North Vietnam agreed to in 1968…for the good of the Nation…LBJ did not reveal Nixon’s high treason.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21768668

  10. Was personally looking at and writing about GMO’s most recent Asset Class Forecasts

    Rally Continues to Reduce GMO’s Asset Class Return Forecasts

  11. VennData says:

    Video – China’s Rich Apply for Citizenship in Cyprus, Singapore, Hong Kong – WSJ.com

    “…An American passport can be a costly accessory-with U.S. citizenship come U.S. taxes…”

    http://live.wsj.com/video/why-wealthy-chinese-are-giving-up-us-green-cards

    Yeah those crazy Obama taxes are driving out our friendly Chinese asset concealers and they’re moving to Cyprus. Woop! Maybe not

    Cyprus’ savers bear brunt of unprecedented bailout

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/16/us-eurozone-cyprus-idUSBRE92E02220130316

    The WSJ is desperate to find someone leaving the US.

    Hey, Is Rupert renouncing his citizenship and leaving? Didn’t think so.

  12. willid3 says:

    S Brennan Says:
    March 16th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Why does this make long term economic sense to the USA, it doesn’t, but US congressmen are of loose morals and easy to bribe, US firms file quarterly reports, CEO visions similarly short.

    not sure why we expect Congress to do any thing for the US? they seem unable to grasp that wall street and the banks lead to the mini depression, even when it hits them in the face. and they seem only to be able have a showy grilling of TBTF banks (like JPM) when they feel like they have to.
    but then its not really new, other than for a few decades (long ago) when they seemed to feel like they worked for US citizens, as opposed to banks, wall street and corporations. but unfortunately we aren’t in one of those infrequent times now

  13. Oral Hazard says:

    I was also going to mention the bullshit going on in Cyprus. Trivialize it at your peril, folks.

  14. Joe Friday says:

    willid3 posted:

    is the CBO no longer a non partisan organ of Congress?

    The CBO remains non-partisan. The problem, as the article you cite points put, is that they are too mathematically ‘conservative’, not that they are politically ‘conservative’. Nevertheless, they’ve generally been the most accurate, or more like least inaccurate, of the recent lot.

    A “Shadow CBO” is not a bad idea, it may even be illuminating to a Dem White House, or a Dem Majority House or Senate. But it’s not about to assuage the Republicans, who already think the CBO communist and treasonist for reporting the reality that tax rate cuts are not stimulative and do not bring in more revenue, and that ObamaCare reduces the federal deficits and would increase them if repealed.

  15. A says:

    I like the changes to the site.
    Will take some getting used to, but changes for the better.

    Thank you.

  16. rd says:

    TYhe first step to having a rational, efficicient market is to have transparent pricing. This might finally be starting in healthcare:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/13/how-much-does-an-mri-cost-in-d-c-anywhere-from-400-to-1861/

    The variation in pricing for what should be fairly similar tests and procedures is pretty astonishing. It is clear that this market has a long way to go before it becomes efficient.