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Archive for September, 2008

More financial crisis links

Posted by erweinstein on September 24, 2008

1. Arnold Kling offers some very astute play-by-play commentary on the developing US financial crisis, here, here, and here. He has more detailed posts on specific issues here and here.

2. Jim Manzi’s long but helpful overview.

3. Analysis from University of Chicago professors Douglas Diamond and Anil Kashyap, in “Frequently Asked Questions” format.

4. Tyler Cowen presents arguments against and for the the bailout. See also his own thoughts on the bailout proposals.

5. The Wikipedia article on credit default swaps.

Posted in Economics, Politics | 1 Comment »

The cloister bell is ringing

Posted by erweinstein on September 15, 2008

The metaphor.

The reality:

Lehman Bros files for bankruptcy

Fed holds fresh AIG crisis talks

Dow Drops 500 Points

Wall Street mauled by Lehman bankruptcy, AIG fears

It’s not quite the (financial) end of the world, but we need to brace ourselves and think very carefully about what we (and our policy-making leaders) do next.

Posted in Economics | 1 Comment »

The man ain’t got no culture

Posted by erweinstein on September 8, 2008

And by “the man”, I mean search engines.

Earlier today, I was searching the online archives of The Economist (the British newsweekly) to see if they printed an obituary for Welsh poet Ronald Stuart Thomas, who died a few months before I began reading that publication. The Economist now allows users to search the archives either via Google Custom Search or via their own internal search. Using Google for “Ronald Stuart Thomas” only returns a dozen or so unrelated results (or zero, searching for exact wording). Much to my surprise, using their internal search gives me either zero or one result, but also this:

No further comments, except that it turns out they did not run an obituary for R.S. Thomas in The Economist.

Posted in Arts and literature, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on The man ain’t got no culture

Remark of the Week

Posted by erweinstein on September 1, 2008

This week’s winner is previous winner Tyler Cowen, a prominent blogger and economist specializing in government, culture, and the arts.

I don’t have a lot of faith in the exact predictive powers of climate models, or for that matter economic models, but uncertainty about outcomes should make us worry more not less.  Uncertainty usually has two tails, not just one.

Cowen’s comment illustrates why, although I am somewhat skeptical of many claims associated with anthropogenic climate change and very skeptical of the specific predictions of most climate modelers, I favor moderate but immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and to prepare fail-safe measures for climate-related natural disasters. Provided, of course, that we can listen to economists as well as climate scientists and design policies with cost-benefit analysis in mind. On this subject, see William Nordhaus’ excellent book A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming and Freeman Dyson’s comments in his essay/review of that book.

Happy Labor Day to all my readers, and on this US holiday the thoughts and prayers of myself and my relatives go out to the residents of the Gulf Coast who have been separated from their homes, friends, and families by the hurricane-related evacuation.

Posted in Economics, Random Thoughts, Science | Comments Off on Remark of the Week