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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On developed and emerging economies, 1970-2050

September 14, 2009
The World Economy, 1970-2050

The World Economy, 1970-2050

Here’s a neat visualization by Joe Swainson on the size and position of developed and emerging economies in the world, from 1970 to 2050, as measured by GDP.

Found via Visualizing Economics.


Prehistoric agriculture and climate change

August 18, 2009
Methane levels and the rise of (extensive) farming in Europe and Asia

Methane levels and the rise of (extensive) farming in Europe and Asia (The Economist)

Here’s a new article in The Economist showing evidence of climate change in the ice polars caps at the same time agrarian societies emerged.

The ice-core record shows that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made an anomalous upturn about 7,000 years ago, and that methane levels, which were also falling, began to increase about 5,000 years ago. These numbers correspond well with the rise of farming in Europe and Asia.

It appears that the extensive farming method used by early farmers was responsible of a more than proportional increase in methane, a greenhouse gas. Yet another point for Georgescu-Roegen and thermoeconomics.


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: On Minsky revisited

July 19, 2009
"…the first thing we do when we discuss Prof. Minsky is show reverence."

"…the first thing we do when we discuss Prof. Minsky is show reverence."

Via Brad DeLong: Here is a nice entry by Interactive Investor on financial cycles and crisis. The chart above is theirs.

Also, don’t hesitate to read this (fake) Goldman Sachs Internal Memo.


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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Web shopping: On “Taking Stock”

June 17, 2009

Marketplace is an American Public Media production that caught my attention some months ago, due to the quality of the contents.

Now, courtesy of Felix Salmon, I found out that Marketplace has a special series, Taking Stock, where economists give their point of view on the current economic situation.

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