In which we are the protagonists in the low comedy of our economy

This morning I was rereading Merton and Bodie’s “A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing the Financial Environment” in The Global Financial System: a Functional Perspective, published in 1995 but still immensely interesting*. This passage, though, ended the paper: In the traditional bank arrangement, there is a mismatch between the liquidity of the deposits issued by the […]

Not yet Enough

I was reading Skidelsky’s critique of Keynes’ “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren“. In Economic Possibilities, written in 1930, Keynes asked What can we reasonably expect the level of our economic life to be a hundred years hence? What are the economic possibilities for our grandchildren? He concluded that by the year 2030, Assuming no important […]

Being allowed to make your own decisions, right or wrong

There was a fairly banal column over at the New York Times last Friday, complaining about being condescended to by a bank “customer service” rep.“Did you want to add him to the account, or open a separate joint account?” she asked. “We’ve talked about the options,” I said, giving my husband, James, my secret “not […]

How to rake it in by screwing your customers

A long, long time ago I was at Prodigy when we decided to change from hourly pricing to a flat rate of $19.95 per month. Flat rate pricing was clearly preferred by our customers, and our competitors who were offering it were taking them away from us. Problem was, when people are accessing the internet […]

Skidelsky on Scapegoating

Here’s something I’ve been trying to say for a year, poorly. Skidelsky in his new book, Keynes: The Return of the Master, says it succinctly: Whenever anything goes badly wrong, our first instinct is to blame those in charge–in this case, bankers, credit agencies, regulators, central bankers and governments. We turn to blame the ideas […]

On Regulation and Innovation in the Financial Industry

Yesterday President Obama said We started taking shortcuts. We started living on credit, instead of building up savings. We saw businesses focus more on rebranding and repackaging than innovating and developing new ideas that improve our lives. But contrast that with this, from November of last year: The Securities and Exchange Commission this week issued […]

Why Bankers Will Continue to Make Just as Much as They Used To

I can understand the brouhaha over banker pay. Bankers make a lot of money. And the seeming unwillingness of the banks to lie low on the compensation front for even a quarter or two makes me wince. Case in point, this New York Times article: After Off Year, Wall Street Pay Is Bouncing Back Even […]

There’s lots of bad economic news, so much that not much of it breaks through the clutter for me anymore, but this did: Tufts accepts 26 percent of pool, suspends need-blind admissions: The admissions office … stopped practicing a need-blind admissions policy toward the tail end of the process, a decision that affected five percent […]

More Capping

Another voice in my crusade (such as it is) to stop paying exorbitant salaries to everyone on the government dole. In the hubbub surrounding President Obama’s decision to cap salaries of commercial-bank CEOs at $500,000 (if they receive future federal funds), the salaries of college and university presidents have been flying under the radar. Some […]