BBC News asks independent trader Alessio Rastani "what would keep investors happy, make them feel more confident?
" and gets a surprisingly honest answer: "Personally, it doesn't matter. See, I'm a trader. I don't really care about that kind of stuff. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. So, for most traders, we don't really care that much about how they're going to fix the economy, about how they're going to fix the whole situation; our job is to make money from it. And, personally, I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession which is I go to bed every night and dream of another recession, I dream of another moment like this." [SLYT]
posted by finite
on Sep 26, 2011 -
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 22, 2011 -
Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute
say they've uncovered a pattern that triggers riots wherever it's found. What is that pattern? The price of food
. When it rises to a certain level, social unrest & violence are soon to follow. According to their calculations the food price index is due to peak in August of 2013, assuming no corrective action is taken. The original paper is here
posted by scalefree
on Aug 21, 2011 -
"We now have a smallish house in a nondescript working class Seattle neighborhood with no sidewalks. We have one car, a battered old minivan with a large dent on one side where you have to bang it with your hip to make the door shut. Our boys go to public schools. Our jobs pay enough to support our lifestyle, mostly anyway. If we wanted, we could both do the "next thing" on our respective career paths..... Fact is, we just don't want to work that hard! We already work harder than we feel like working. We enjoy having time to lay around in the living room with the kids, reading. We like to watch a little TV after the kids are in bed. We like going to the park and visits with friends and low-key vacations and generally relaxing. Going further down our respective career paths would likely mean more work, greater responsibilities, higher stress, and less time to lay around the living room with the kids. So why do it?" David Roberts in Grist
on satisficing, voluntary non-affluence, and the medium chill
posted by escabeche
on Jul 27, 2011 -
Everyone knows that correlation doesn't imply causation
, but researchers invariably need to come up with plausible explanations (i.e., models) for the patterns found in their data. However, very different models can "explain" the same pattern. The books The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
and Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
by Oxford economist Paul Collier
try to explain why some countries have remained poor using data from econometric studies. In his very interesting review
(PDF), Mike McGovern
, a political anthropologist at Yale, critiques the types of explanations found in popular economics books. Statistician Andrew Gelman has further thoughts on descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on Jul 13, 2011 -
The housing bubble was the last chance most middle-class families saw for grasping the brass ring. Working hard didn’t pay off. Investing in the stock market was a sucker’s bet. But the housing bubble allowed middle-class families to dream again and more importantly to keep spending as if they were getting a big fat raise every year.
- How the Bubble Destroyed the Middle Class
posted by Slap*Happy
on Jul 11, 2011 -
"Any industry would be proud of an average annual growth rate of 34% over ten years and of a global reach from Austria to Taiwan. But the headlong expansion of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which by May this year controlled almost $1.5 trillion of assets (not far short of the $2 trillion in hedge funds), has become a matter for concern among financial regulators. Could ETFs be the next source of financial scandal, or even of systemic risk?
" Characterizing the Financial sector "like a hyperactive child" that "can never leave a good thing be", The Economist
appears to be wishing
for the ETFs
to be better regulated
because "it would be a shame if reckless expansion spoiled a good innovation".
posted by vidur
on Jun 26, 2011 -
The Age of Imperialism is over, but its impact remains
, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
posted by -->NMN.80.418
on Jun 3, 2011 -
The McKinsey Global Institute has published "Internet Matters: The Net's sweeping impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity
" [70 Page PDF or just the Summary
]. "On average, the Internet contributes 3.4 percent to GDP in the 13 countries covered by the research an amount the size of Spain or Canada in terms of GDP, and growing at a faster rate than that of Brazil... For governments, investments in infrastructure, human capital, financial capital and business environment conditions will help strengthen their Internet supply domestic ecosystems." Found on Marginal Revolution where Tyler Cowen
has a few interesting comments.
posted by Blake
on May 26, 2011 -
PBS's excellent weekly news magazine, Need to Know
why European broadband speeds are racing ahead of the USA. Britain now has 400 broadband suppliers with service available for as little as $6/month. Bonus: Harvard's Berkman Center reports
on broadband supply trends around the world.
posted by anigbrowl
on May 13, 2011 -
Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us?
- "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for
posted by kliuless
on Apr 17, 2011 -
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]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 14, 2011 -
in May's Vanity Fair ; Inequality: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret. (via
posted by adamvasco
on Apr 6, 2011 -
"The paper puts forward a small but novel idea of how we can cut down the incidence of bribery. There are different kinds of bribes and what this paper is concerned with are bribes that people often have to give to get what they are legally entitled to. I shall call these 'harassment bribes'. Suppose an income tax refund is held back from a taxpayer till he pays some cash to the officer. Suppose government allots subsidized land to a person but when the person goes to get her paperwork done and receive documents for this land, she is asked to pay a hefty bribe. These are all illustrations of harassment bribes. Harassment bribery is widespread in India and it plays a large role in breeding inefficiency and has a corrosive effect on civil society. The central message of this paper is that we should declare the act of giving a bribe in all such cases as legitimate activity
[PDF]. In other words the giver of a harassment bribe should have full immunity from any punitive action by the state." [more inside]
posted by vidur
on Mar 31, 2011 -
Why Not a Negative Income Tax?
"What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work, and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state has done? [Nobel-prize winning economist Milton] Friedman’s answer was the negative income tax, or NIT."
posted by shivohum
on Mar 14, 2011 -