"Gold's crash this weekend is, as Oprah might say, a teachable moment. Crashes like this are a good way to find out how markets work. It's like a game of financial Clue, a way to keep sharp your skills of deduction. You don't have to be a stock investor or a math whiz to figure it out, either – you just have to have a good grasp of news and human psychology." - the Guardian on this week's crash in gold commodity prices.
"The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman [Sachs] thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off.""
Peter Wallison, an economist who arguably predicted the housing crash and bailout in 1999 explains his current views on the crash: "Other players...played a part" but "...government policy over many years--particularly the use of the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to distort the housing credit system-- underlies the current crisis."
History Repeats Itself in Different Hues -- a readable Q&A data dump comparing the economics and policy responses of 1990s Japan and current events
The Next Bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow's big crash. A layman's primer on the genesis and future of today's economic troubles, at Harper's Magazine.
Nouriel Roubini's Global Macroeconomic and Financial Policy Site is big, broad, and pretty amazing. If you can stomach a 50 page .pdf, make sure to read the dollar-bear article: Will The Bretton Woods 2 Regime Unravel Soon? The Risk of a Hard Landing in 2005-2006.