Joe Stiglitz on Inequality, Wealth, and Growth: Why Capitalism is Failing (video; if you don't have 30m, skip to 20m for discussion of political inequality, wealth, credit and monetary policy) - "If the very rich can use their position to get higher returns, more investment information, more extraction of rents, and if the very rich have equal or higher savings rates, then wealth will become more concentrated... economic inequality inevitably gets translated into political inequality, and political inequality gets translated into more economic inequality. The basic and really important idea here is that markets don't exist in a vacuum, that market economies operate according to certain rules, certain regulations that specify how they work. And those effect the efficiency of those markets, but they also effect how the fruits of the benefits of those markets are distributed and the result of that is there are large numbers of aspects of our basic economic framework that in recent years have worked to increase the inequality of wealth and income in our society... leading to a society which can be better described, increasingly, as an inherited plutocracy." [more inside]
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
Youtube user dotflist has a playlist collecting classic TV themes and openings ....except something seems to be slightly off
The End of Banking: Money, Credit, and the Digital Revolution - "Unregulated banking with access to government guarantees is an enticing business model. It offers the profits of excessive risk-taking in good times, and allows passing on the inevitable losses to taxpayers in bad times." [more inside]
Continuing the exposure of how "being poor is expensive," the Washington Post takes a look at rent-to-own purchases in its article, Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa. [more inside]
VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Banks usually reserve the right to change the rules or rates for credit cards they issue at any time, and the only notice given is buried in a long legal document. Russian Dmitry Argarkov turned this on its head: After he received a junk-mail credit card offer, he modified the document to include terms ridiculously in his favor and sent it back. The bank signed and certified it without looking at it, and sent him a credit card. [more inside]
This week, retailers in 40 states will be allowed to charge fees for the use of Visa or Mastercard credit cards. Know Your Card. While large chains may avoid the new surcharge, it could be up to 4%. This is part of a settlement reached last summer in an anti-trust lawsuit against Visa, Mastercard, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, among others. There are 10 states where surcharging is illegal, but in many of them merchants may offer a discount for using cash.
Once the financial sector achieves a certain size, its continued expansion reduces economic growth, according to a new study by two senior economists at the Bank for International Settlements, Stephen Cecchetti and Enisse Kharroubi, using a large international data base stretching back more than 30 years.
IMF Economists are suggesting that The Chicago Plan, first proposed in 1936 as a way to avoid another Great Depression, is the answer to our current economic woes. [more inside]
Start Your Own Currency - "In the Catalonia region of Spain, a restaurant and a community garden are part of an experiment in alternative cash--they are accepting a home-grown currency called the Eco as well as the Euro." [viz. gated article (Google link), cf. The Wörgl Experiment]
The CARD Act of 2009, which has been much lauded for providing consumer protection hurts stay-at-home moms (and dad's). "This decision was meant to keep college students from going into credit card debt they could not afford to pay off but it also has the consequence of disenfranchising stay-at-home parents, 88% of whom are women. [...] In the worst case scenario, the Federal Reserve’s decision will play a role in financial abuse. Financial abuse is a factor in 98% of abusive relationships." 30,000 signatures have been delivered to the Financial Protection Bureu in Washington DC with "some petitioners dressed up as housewives from the 1950s -- complete with A-line skirts, pearls and tightly pulled back hair -- since the rule "feels like a flashback to the 1950s because of the way women aren't empowered financially."
"In other words, credit has become America’s welfare policy," says Sheldon Garon, Princeton University professor and author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. The US savings rate currently = 3.8%, while the Euro Area savings rate = 13.7%[pdf]. [more inside]
On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds. Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly.
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
If you want to take a relation of violent extortion, sheer power, and turn it into something moral, and most of all, make it seem like the victims are to blame, you turn it into a relation of debt. Naked Capitalism talks to David Graeber about his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Previously. And more generally. Bonus Graeber classic: "Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!" [more inside]
Since 2005, it has been nearly impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. HR 2028 and S.1102 aim to make private student loans again dischargeable in bankruptcy. [more inside]
The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
Out of thin air? "Have you ever said something like 'Let me buy you a beer next week'? I'm sure you have. We all issue promises of this sort. And we frequently use such promises as a form of currency... I have just described a simple credit exchange. Societies rely heavily on promising-making and promise-keeping. It is the foundation of all financial markets. I'd like to point out something about the promises you make. They are made 'out of thin air.' " [more inside]
Paul Copansky, a.k.a. Paul from the Diamond Center, reminisces about Ed "Hi Kids!" Barbara, Steven "Top of the Hill Daly City" Matthew David, and Harvard E. "Pete" Palmer, Jr., the adman who put these characters on the San Francisco/Bay Area's UHF band in the 1970's and 1980's. [more inside]
How panhandlers use free credit cards-"What would happen if, instead of spare change, you handed a person in need the means to shop for whatever they needed? What would they buy?"
Popular Unrest is a multi-episode drama by Melanie Gilligan (of Crisis in the Credit System) set in a future much like the present. Here, however, all exchange transactions and social interactions are overseen by a system called ‘the Spirit’. A rash of unexplained killings have broken out across the globe. They often take place in public but witnesses never see an assailant. Just as mysteriously, groups of unrelated people are suddenly coming together everywhere, amassing new members rapidly. Unaccountably, they feel a deep and persistent sense of connection to one another. (via)
"I Stopped Denying People." Former Bank of America employee Jackie Ramos appears on the Daily Show last night in a segment covering the sweeping credit card reform the went into effect last week.
Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
"...for the scientific community, the most critical organ of the incentive system is the cycle of credit."
Just how credible is Wikipedia? While some have tested this empirically, others have chosen more dubious methodology. For a site that gives no credit to its post authors, one wonders, why even bother?
Debt: The first five thousand years. Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber (previously) writes about "debt and debt money in human history" in Eurozine. Lots of thought-provoking stuff here; I'll put a sample in the extended description. (Via wood s lot.) [more inside]
The commercials are all over television — and they certainly are attention-grabbing. They’re the ones where the heavy, bald guy is sitting in his easy chair talking in a squeaky female voice about all the clothes he bought — including a bustier. Or the little old lady speaking with the gruff voice of a younger man about the sweet motorcycle she now owned. Identity theft is a serious crime — one that is occurring with an alarming frequency. The Identity Theft Manifesto explains how criminals get your personal info, and what you can do about it.
"In fact, while transactional credit provision is a perfectly good business, it might be reasonable for the state to offer basic transactional credit as a public good." Blogger Steve Randy Waldman has an idea that's so crazy it might work. He buried it in a nice wonky, obscure post about transactional and revolving credit, but now has been linked by Ezra Klein at his new WaPo blog. Will Metafilter heads explode?
The High Cost of Poverty : The Washington Post explores why the cost of living is proportionately higher in poor areas. Double Jeopardy: Why the Poor Pay More (pdf): a report on payday loans, the cost of homeownership, medical debt, and banking in poor communities.
Where did all the money go? is just one of the enties to GOOD's financial crisis infographic competition. [more inside]
The Compleat ÜberNerd: a fascinating series of blog entries detailing the nitty-gritty behind the mortgage industry by Calculated Risk's "Tanta." If you're curious about automated underwriting systems or the ins and outs of mortgage servicing or if you just enjoy some Mortgage Pig Excel art, Tanta was the blogger for you. Tanta, otherwise known as Doris Dungey, passed away on Sunday morning (NYT obit, CR obit).
Have we jumped over all the hurdles in our ongoing economic fiasco? Probably not, the next hurdle is Credit Cards. [more inside]
You know those exploitative 0% APR offers from the credit card companies? With careful work, some brave souls cash them out as interest free loans and invest it in high yield accounts -- but its not for the faint of heart, especially with the economic downturn.
Icelandic internet bank Icesave has closed its doors. The Icelandic government has told the UK chancellor that it cannot pay back the money of UK depositors. [more inside]
Paulson: Foreign Banks Can Use US Rescue Plan. Treasury Fact Sheet, "broader eligibility" if Paulson decides. Pressure builds at Morgan, Goldman. You Decide (kinda), probably no one listens.
How to Lawfully Reset Your Credit History. A fascinating true story of how Max successfully deleted thousands of dollars of debt from his credit history. The follow-up, Why Max Won, has some interesting insight into removing emotion from the credit equation. (Previous Make Your Nut appearances on MetaFilter here and here.)
A new medical bill payment reporting system called MedFICO is said to be going live this summer. This system is being developed by the health care industry in an effort to judge a patient's ability to pay. Healthcare Analytics, a healthcare actuarial company, is developing the score in conjunction with Tenet Healthcare, credit scoring company Fair Issac, and venture capitalists. [more inside]
What’s Behind Those Offers to Raise Credit Scores - You've all heard the ads, here's how those companies try to raise your credit scores. The credit industry hates it, because it works, at least for now.
"The range of derivatives contracts is limited only by the imagination of man (or sometimes, so it seems, madmen)." -Warren Buffet
A primer on the global derivatives market, the City of London, and the credit crunch:
"In 2003 the total size of the world economy was $49,000,000,000,000. The total size of the derivatives being traded was $85,000,000,000,000. In other words, derivatives today are worth far, far more than the total economic activity of the planet. More than $1,000,000,000,000 of derivatives are bought and sold every day. Every single thing that can be traded through derivatives, is."
This isn't 1998. There's no model for what's happening now in the housing and mortgage industries. 116 mortgage lenders have imploded since 2006. 11 hedge funds have imploded in just the last couple months. Time to warm up the helicopters?
50 Fun Facts About Credit Cards. Historical tidbits and interesting explanations of the technology behind that plastic in your pocket.
TOO MUCH BLOOD IN MY STOOL! THIS COULD BE COLOGNE CANCER! (NSFW) Eddie Reedom's site, www.choppercarsfraud.com claims Josh "Chop" Towbin and Towbin Dodge (known for their silly infomercials and the A&E series King of Cars) defrauded him of $50m to $100m. Among the evidence is photos of his stool, and video of an unruly Australian Buddhist security guard who kicks Reedom's truck. While Reedom may seem a bit nuts, there are tens of millions of Americans with bad credit. If you're one of them, seek some good advice before signing up for any loan. Credit problems are enough to drive anyone insane.
In the last few years, Fair Isaacs, along with the FTC have made considerable effort in educating us in how our credit scores are derived. But is the whole system about to change? In a somewhat quiet AP story, the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, announced they had agreed on a new common formula for generating your credit scores: VantageScore. [more inside]
Page: 1 2