Sunday, February 5, 2012

Points of Public Interest

  1. THE UNLIKELY BULL MARKET - Niels Jensen, a top portfolio manager, offers his assessment of the current bull market. Remarking on his recent trip to Spain and dabbling in Post-Keynesian economics, Jensen acknowledges the myriad of fears present today but believes the cyclical (not structural) bull market remains intact for now. (h/t Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism)
  2. John Taylor's Open Letter To Greece: "Get Out Greece! Get Out Right Now!" - John Taylor, the CIO of FX Concepts, explains to Greece why life outside the EU will be better than within. While I agree with this view, Greece may be best off waiting for the next bailout installment before jumping ship. (h/t Zero Hedge)
  3. Our Counterfeit Economy - Charles Hugh Smith reveals how calculations of GDP ignore the possibility of mal-investment, both public and private. For further insight on the flaws of GDP, I recommend reading Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi.
  4. How Much Does the Safety Net Help the “Very Poor”? - Anthony Gregory responds to Mitt Romney’s, somewhat out of context, claim that “I’m not concerned about the very poor” because “We have a safety net there.” Gregory points out that benefits of the welfare system (“safety net”) primarily accrue to the broad middle class. This is another good example of common misperceptions about which class(es) actually benefit from certain government programs.
  5. A Crisis in Two Narratives - Former IMF chief, Raghuram Rajan, counters typical Keynesian thinking with a different historical explanation of our current economic woes. In Rajan’s eyes, “pre-crisis GDP was unsustainable, bolstered by borrowing and unproductive make-work jobs.” Many proponents of the first narrative make claims about how far below potential GDP the US is currently. These estimates of potential GDP or output often assume that the previous trend is/was sustainable. Before making public policy or investment decisions, it’s always important to understand the assumptions underlying one’s reasoning.
  6. What future for economics? - (MUST READ) Martin Wolf summarizes a recent panel on “The Future of Economics” with ten outstanding highlights. (h/t Pete Boettke of Coordination Problem)
  7. No Need to Panic About Global Warming - Sixteen world-renowned scientists debate the need for dramatic action, especially the cost-benefit analysis of ‘decarbonzing’ the global economy. My science background is not nearly strong enough to know if these claims are valid, but my skeptical side is always wary of supposedly “incontrovertible” evidence about future outcomes involving human action. (h/t David Theroux of The Beacon)

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