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 […]

Communities vs. Networks

My first job, at IBM, I knew nothing about computers. Why they hired me to design mainframe CP logic, I can’t figure out. Columbia taught Electrical Engineering as a liberal art, so while I graduated able to talk in detail about semiconductor physics and hold my own in a conversation about Claude Shannon’s master’s thesis, […]

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‚Äôs 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 […]

If the Neighbor’s Grass Always Looks Greener, Rip out Your Lawn and Plant Wildflowers

Everybody complains about the finance industry, but nobody does anything about it. Everybody complains about the advertising business, but nobody does anything about it. I spend a lot of my time talking to people, meeting them, listening to their ideas and what they need to achieve them, making introduction, sharing information and etc. This week’s […]

John Bell, In the Accelerator, With the Polarizer

Last night I had a dream I was playing a card game with my son. It was an interesting game: each card had a piece of Dirac notation on it. He was winning. It could be a real game, I thought, when I woke up. Perhaps there are a few cards on the table that […]

After-Dinner Ruminations in the Highest Bobcat-Land

[This entry is somewhat general (uncharacteristically so, I hope.) I have more specific things to say, but I’m thinking out loud. Also, I usually think reductio ad absurdum, which necessitates the making of positive statements. Judge accordingly.] I was talking with a friend about the right way to make a living. Somehow I got sucked […]

Reconciling Living with Strangers

I’ve been re-reading David Foster Wallace, both as a way of grieving him and as an escape from other, more pressing, grief. Wallace was the complicated inhabitant of his own writing, the uncertain outsider unable to accept the loving embrace of his community. He was an odd jester, exposing shibboleths but also using the mundane […]