Best of the Moment
Tim Harford | Financial Times | 12th July 2013
Conversation with sci-fi writer, Boing-Boing blogger. Self-recommending, as Tyler Cowen might say. "I arrive at Hawksmoor 10 minutes early, he’s there already, sipping sparkling water at the bar and reading a book. He’s wearing thick-rimmed spectacles worthy of Eric Morecambe, a Disney 'Haunted Mansion' T-shirt, and a jacket; he’s 41 but looks younger. Did I mention that I have a tiny crush on Cory Doctorow?" (Metered paywall)
Felix Salmon | Reuters | 12th July 2013
Well-pointed summary of new Lee Buchheit paper (here (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2292669) ; also worth downloading). Sovereign debt guarantees have multiplied, as a way of masking national debts. How do you deal with them when the issuer is forced into a debt restructuring? You cannot safely leave them out of the haircut; not can you easily bring them in. Conclusion: "If you thought that sovereign debt restructuring has been difficult until now, you ain’t seen nothing yet"
Annie Lowrey | New York Times | 12th July 2013
Close-up view of poverty on an Indian reservation with an 85% unemployment rate, where alcoholism, drug abuse and gang violence are "rampant", but welfare and police budgets are being cut. Frightening and depressing. But you may come away thinking that in order to make things significantly better here, the changes needed are more fundamental than mere tinkering at the margins of government spending (Metered paywall)
James Greiff | Bloomberg View | 12th July 2013
Elizabeth Warren argues for splitting commercial and investment banks on the grounds that "Banking should be boring". Actually, dealing in huge sums of money is always going to be pretty interesting. The problem is getting the incentives right. "Much of the fear that should be part of banking has been wrung out of the system. Instead of making banking boring, how about making it scary again — for bankers and their shareholders?"
Charles Simic | New York Review Of Books | 12th July 2013
Poet's notebook. Every paragraph alive and beautiful. "Tonight, it looks like they are celebrating someone’s golden wedding anniversary in one of the constellations in the sky. I can tell because the ladies up there are wearing a lot of expensive jewelry"
Thought for the day:
"Sentimentality is the emotional promiscuity of those who have no sentiment" — Norman Mailer