The Dull Compulsion of the Economic
A series of posts by D&S collective member Larry Peterson
(1) From Saturday’s FT Weekend, two articles on the yen carry trade, which was instrumental in channeling Eastern savings into Western bubbles. The first traces the intriguing origins of the trade, which had to do with the peculiarities of Japanese savings alternatives and gender roles, while the second suggests that the trade may be unwound–to the advantage of the U.S. dollar.
(2) I have a lot of sympathy for many of those undergoing foreclosure, and policy should address their plight in a vigorously sympathetic way (i.e. with more public housing alternatives, etc), but our housing market is still an expensively overvalued joke, and no one should be sad to see it–or its ludicrous supports for homeownership–go. As Willem Buiter and James Saft argue in these pieces, we should be constructing a new model of housing that depends less on ownership (and, hence, on political patronage) and more on affordability.
(3) As a postmortem on the DeLong/Harvey exchange, an interesting debate took place on LBO Talk this week. Besides that, see the postings on Robert Fitch and Robert Brenner, which deal with sometimes related issues.
(4) Someone finally takes on the preposterous “philanthrocapitalists.”
(5) The Wall Street Journal on Mexico’s drug wars. Though this piece parrots foolishness from ex-”drug-czar” Barry McCaffrey and others, this is a truly vicious war that is spiraling out of control.
(6) On the lighter side, is the contemporary art market a fraud? And, in a kind of weird transference and fetishization of the idea of species-being, can animals be considered protected by copyright? This must be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen for a long time….
(7) Speaking of “intellectual property,” Michael Perleman relates a New York Times article that claims biotech companies are thwarting essential research.
(8) Is Hillary Clinton telling the Chinese it’s ok to keep the yuan undervalued?
(9) Asians seek guarantees on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debt before they’ll buy any more.
(10) The EU says all markets must be thoroughly regulated, according to Reuters.
(11) Obama pledges to halve deficit in four years. Good luck (and forget about health care/climate change?).