On Lehman Brothers

September 15, 2009
Those were happy times...

Those were happy times...

After the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve denied to rescue Lehman Brothers, the once almighty investment bank failed a year ago, beginning what would turn to be the mother of all financial crises.

Here is an exclusive Reuters interview with Richard Fuld, the president of Lehman at the time of its bankruptcy.

lehman-brothers

The New York Times has published three good pieces on the issue: ‘An Epidemic of Capital Destruction’, Tales From Lehman’s Crypt (showing the lives and fates of three former Lehman employees) and Lehman Had to Die So Global Finance Could Live. It also has a neat visualization showing the market capitalization of the biggest financial firms in Wall Street from October 9, 2007 to September 11, 2009.

The Economist’s Buttonwood has recently posted an interactive map showing global indebtedness, from 1999 to 2011. It’s worth visiting.

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How the market made modern art

September 4, 2009

During the Utrecht conference, I encountered Jeff Taylor, a young American scholar based at the CEU of Budapest,   who was presenting his research on the rise of modernism in Hungarian art. His work is very interesting as it offers a history of art considered as any other business or economic activity. His PhD thesis will be published and to be frank I can’t wait. Here is the insightful interview he granted me this week via email.

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“Surrender, dogs, to those of Salé”

August 16, 2009

Leila Maziane has recently published her PhD thesis about the Corsairs of Salé. This excellent book fills the gap that existed in the “Atlantic World” between Spain and West Africa, it includes Morocco in global history and at the same time coverns fascinatings aspects of a local story. leila Maziane obtained her PhD from Caen University (France) and is now teaching at Hassan II University in Mohammedia (Morocco). She accepted in March 2009 to meet up in the beautiful al-Saud library in Casablanca:

Picture 2

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Web shopping: Schwartz’s view of the Fed’s monetary policy

July 22, 2009
Professor Schwartz

Professor Schwartz

Recently Michael Hirsh interviewed monetary historian Anna Schwartz for Newsweek. She doesn’t sound happy at all about the state of monetary policy in the face of the financial crisis. Excerpts:

Anna Schwartz is 93 and has been working at the same place since 1941. She’s that rarity in economics, or indeed any field: a living legend from another era who hasn’t lost a step mentally and who grasps everything that’s going on around her in the present. Or at least she seems to—but more on that later. Schwartz is one of the most renowned monetary scholars in the world. She’s the woman who authored, with Milton Friedman, The Monetary History of the United States—the book that launched the free-market counterattack against Keynesianism in the early ’60s. And now, as she surveys the wreckage of the last two years, Schwartz has one thought: if only Milton were here. “Ever since his death I have lamented the fact that he has not been around to express his views on what’s going on,” she told me the other day at her mid-Manhattan office at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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Web shopping: Ferguson and the importance of financial (and economic) history

July 3, 2009

Niall Ferguson

Just a quick note for today. Googleing for some other stuff I found an interview with well-known financial historian Niall Ferguson in Harvard Business School Bulletin of March 2009. He makes the case in this interview for studying financial history in business schools (a case that can be generalized to economics and humanities faculties, I think).

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Web shopping: Paul Samuelson, Christina Romer

July 1, 2009

Paul Samuelson

Conor Clarke, an economic and financial journalist working at TheAtlantic.com, interviewed Professor Paul Samuelson. Here is part 1 and part 2. This interview is interesting, for Samuelson offers his personal views on the economic policy’s response to the crisis. Samuelson asserts an interesting recommendation for economists: do study economic history.

Q: Very last thing. What would you say to someone starting graduate study in economics? Where do you think the big developments in modern macro are going to be, or in the micro foundations of modern macro? Where does it go from here and how does the current crisis change it?

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