Sunday, February 08, 2009

Saturday (Sunday) Round-up 4

I’m sorry for the light posting and the delay in the round-up this week. My dog was sick all week and getting him back to health took up my time. Without further ado however here’s a few interesting links from the week.

  1. Speaking of my puppy, 3 Ring Binder has had a series of posts covering each of the classes in the upcoming Westminster Kennel Club show and she featured a few pics of my own poodle, Moxie, when she reviewed the Non-Sporting Group.
  2. Fr33 Agents has a summary of BB&T CEO John Allison’s recent talk in Washington DC regarding the roots and solutions to our current financial crisis. It is a very nice summary. I am working on an op-ed on the same topic for my OAC Intro to Writing class, and I’m glad to see Mr. Allison speaking out.
  3. The Keynesian notion that consumption drives the economy, in practice leads to the articulation of several interesting paradoxes. For example, the Paradox of Thrift decries saving during a recession since it can lead to supposed deflationary “death spirals.” I think these paradoxes actually expose the errors in Keynesian thinking. Last week discussion of another paradox seemed to be fashionable. Will Wilkinson calls it Macroeconomics as mind control. I like to think of it as “The Paradox of Panic.” It involves an inordinate amount of focus on consumer confidence, the restoration of which will recharge consumption. This is one of the main targets of stimulus packages such as the one working its way through the Senate this week. Of course the paradox here is that in order to spur Congress to such confidence-restoring action, the common tactic used is an attempt to scare the bejeezus out of the American public by asserting that eminent collapse of the economy greets those who do not vote to enact the stimulus. Of course, once passed we’re sure to see some of that stimulus money go toward public service campaigns aimed at telling the public that it’s ok to spend now. Go figure.
  4. Great post by Yves Smith on what continues to NOT happen regarding the financial system. The Paradox of Panic leads regulators to specifically NOT want to analyze bank balance sheets and to take any action that would serve to repair those banks because such action would serve to spook depositors. And as banks continue un-restructured, they remain broken. So concern for consumer confidence, leads regulators to forego just the actions that would restore consumer confidence. This is why bankruptcies would be better solutions compared with anything Treasury continues to propose.
  5. Oh, almost forgot. Update on the MSI Wind. I love it! It has met all my expectations, and I have now tested it on all the intended uses I articulated in my previous post. In fact, I’m writing this post from the coffee shop!

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