Friday’s WSJ front page article, Bernanke’s Bubble Laboratory, is must reading:
"First came the tech-stock bubble. Then there were bubbles in housing
and credit. Chinese stocks took off like a rocket. Now, as prices soar
on every material from oil to corn, some suggest there’s a bubble in
But how and why do bubbles form? Economists traditionally haven’t
offered much insight. From World War II till the mid-1990s, there
weren’t many U.S. investing manias for them to look at. The study of
bubbles was left to economic historians sifting through musty records
of 17th-century Dutch tulip-bulb prices and the like . . .
study of financial bubbles is hot . . . Among their conclusions:
Bubbles emerge at times when investors profoundly
disagree about the significance of a big economic development, such as
the birth of the Internet. Because it’s so much harder to bet on prices
going down than up, the bullish investors dominate.
Once they get going, financial bubbles are marked by huge increases in trading, making them easier to identify.
Manias can persist even though many smart people
suspect a bubble, because no one of them has the firepower to
successfully attack it. Only when skeptical investors act
simultaneously — a moment impossible to predict — does the bubble pop."
Its now at the free section of WSJ.com.
Bernanke’s Bubble Laboratory
Princeton Protégés of Fed Chief Study the Economics of Manias
WSJ, May 16, 2008; Page A1
Last week, while randomly channel surfing, I stumbled across a fantastic PBS documentary in the American Masters series, titled Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On.
It was a terrific review of the wonderful music and troubled life of Marvin Gaye.
Those of you who are less familiar with early Soul and R&B owe it to yourself to learn a bit about Gaye, best known as an artist on the Motown record label in the 1960s and 1970s.
Gaye had a classic R&B voice — described as "edged with grit yet tempered with sweetness." But he was much more than that: He was Motown’s renaissance man: A songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer as well.
AllMusic: "Moving from lean,
powerful R&B to stylish, sophisticated soul to finally arrive at an
intensely political and personal form of artistic self-expression, his
work not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also
expanded its impact as an agent for social change."
You can explore Gaye’s work a couple of ways: The one click method is
either a box set or a Best Of. For the big 4 CD box, go with The Master 1961-1984. A less exhaustive approach is Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye.
I much prefer the albums over the greatest hits, The self-produced What’s Going On was a landmark effort, described as "a dramatic shift in both content and style that forever altered the face of black music." A mix of percussion, soul and jazz, it has a remarkably sophisticated and fluid sound. Reviewers have called What’s Going On a conceptual masterpiece.
The long-simmering eroticism implicit in much of Gaye’s work reached its boiling point with 1973′s Let’s Get It On, one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded; a work of intense lust and longing, it became the most commercially successful effort of his career
Top Ten Albums
1971: What’s Going On (#6 U.S.)
1973: Let’s Get It On (#2 U.S.)
1973: Diana & Marvin (#5 UK)
1974: Marvin Gaye Live! (#8 U.S.)
1976: I Want You (#4 U.S.)
1977: Live at the London Palladium (#3 U.S.)
1982: Midnight Love (#7 U.S.; #10 UK)
1994: The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (#3 UK)
2000: Marvin Gaye Love Songs (#8 UK)
• NPR: A Tribute to Marvin Gaye
videos after the jump