In the years since the financial crisis, central banks across the world have struggled to stimulate adequate aggregate demand. Most mainstream economists agree that this is due to inherent impotence of monetary policy at the zero lower bound, although some, including some central banks, now say that the effective lower bound, though finite, is below zero. The Swiss and Danish central banks are currently testing that idea. [more inside]
"Neoliberal is the new hipster: everybody's it except you, and nobody can explain what it means"
I think that’s well-put, and that the similarity between the terms is no accident; hipsterism is an especially salient iteration of neoliberal subjectivity, one that gains currency by being slippery and inarticulable. These concepts become normalized by becoming boring and frustrating to talk about. The apparent vagueness in the terms seems to make them unalterable. The struggle to define them reflects the stakes of keeping them amorphous, capable of absorbing more and more behavior, making the way of thinking they describe feel inescapable, natural.[more inside]
The American suicide rate has spiked upwards, according to the CDC. That increase is especially noticeable among baby boomers. Is the reason the availability of prescription drugs, or challenging family circumstances? The article's comments generally cite the economy. (SLNYT)
“This restaurant lifestyle is killing us,” Mandy said one night as we took a break from our creative endeavors to eat Walgreen’s off-brand ice cream sandwiches on our front stoop in the cool, salty night air. “Look at us. It’s two o’clock in the morning and we’re still awake. Working. Eating. Drinking shitty wine. Every night. It’s unhealthy! How can I work well if I don’t live well?” “Yeah, it’s the pits. But what can we do?” I ate my ice cream sandwich slowly, nibbling around the edges. Mandy finished her sandwich in two bites and crumpled the paper wrapper into a ball. “I’ll figure out something...”
A dozen ultraleft voluntarists arguing about shower schedules is a noise complaint; 120,000 downwardly mobile yuppies doing it out of necessity is a substratum. The material realities of declining wages, ballooning debt, and skyrocketing rents at the core of the neoliberal city have conspired to herd young people into unprecedentedly dense, poor, and precarious kinds of living arrangements. - Andrew Fogle on how the economic crisis is changing how people live together.
The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title
The Kellers are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title. Six years in, thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn't know they still owned after banks decided it wasn't worth their while to complete foreclosures on them. With impunity, banks have been walking away from foreclosures much the way some homeowners walked away from their mortgages when the housing market first crashed.[more inside]
First the Bubble. Then the Short. Now the Long.
Some neighborhoods in Oakland are as devastated as any of the worst hit regions across America — Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. Now the morphing of the housing bust and foreclosure epidemic into a lucrative multi-billion dollar opportunity for major investors is also uncannily centered upon Oakland and the greater Bay Area, where companies flush with hedge fund cash are buying up homes by the thousands. The entire sweep of the US housing bubble, financial crisis, and foreclosure wave can therefore be told by looking at persons and companies with intimate links to Oakland and the Bay Area. What follows is one account.
Killing Them Softly - Trailer(Youtube) - is based on a 1978 novel by George V. Higgins (Boston's Balzac), set in Boston. The movie was filmed in New Orleans and set in 2008. [more inside]
Over the last few months, a few cities around the United States have experienced their own, unique, fiscal crisis: bankruptcy. [more inside]
14 Year Old Buys House in Florida Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord. [more inside]
You know about the Great Depression, but do you know about the Long Depression? For a while now some have been suggesting we're in a "Third Depression", not so much like the Great one, but more like the Long Depression (1873–96) of 23 years (originally called the Great Depression). Suggesting "This slump won’t end until 2031". [more inside]
Maybe It’s Time for Plan C - since the dawn of the Great Recession, more Americans have started businesses (565,000 of them a month in 2010) than at any period in the last decade and a half. 'The lures are obvious: freedom, fulfillment. The highs can be high. But career switchers have found that going solo comes with its own pitfalls: a steep learning curve, no security, physical exhaustion and emotional meltdowns. The dream job is a “job” as much as it is a “dream.”' [more inside]
That guy who predicted the big one? Don't listen to him. Stern School of Business (NYU) Professor Nouriel Roubini (wiki : twitter : prev : prev : prev) made waves when he predicted the Great Recession, but not all of his predictions have panned out. This needn't be a surprise, however: Predicting the Next Big Thing: Success as a Signal of Poor Judgment outlines how those who make big, accurate predictions are often worse than the general public at making predictions in general. [more inside]
Patsy Campbell has been fighting her foreclosure in Florida courts for the past 25 years. She has not made a mortgage payment since 1985 while foiling the efforts of several banks to evict her from her home in Okeechobee, Florida.
Charles Ferguson's cogent & enraging presentation of the financial meltdown may be best viewed in a theatre that serves beer. (YMMV) So if the financial system crisis in the last 3 years or so has you scratching your head, there are helpful diagrams on the website, & surprisingly equal party blameworthy interviews in the film. There are also helpful pdf's and good guy/bad guy lists for teaching about it. And once you leave the theatre, there's a place to read & talk about the film, and there's even a place with a list of what you can do. (Which is also open to suggestions for more things you can do.) An interview with film director Charles Ferguson from Oct 1, 2010 on NPR. Previously-ish.
"The first thing that needs to happen, I think, is to get these people out of their homes," a man wearing a bespoke blue-striped shirt, a Hermés tie patterned with elephants and Ferragamo loafers said recently. But, maybe Wall Street doesn't understand why foreclosure fraud is so dangerous to property rights? And, the Obama administration doesn't understand why HAMP has been a portrait in failure for homeowners (in eight parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII.)
The New York Times commissioned Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins to travel around the United States and take photographs of abandoned construction projects left in the wake of the housing and securities market collapse.
I'm Back An analysis of the present macro-economic and political situation. [SLYT] [Adult Language] [NSFCRTs] [Right-wing Smears x2] [PepsiGold Pitch at the end]