Felix Salmon

How can we de-risk the economy?

The first panel at the New Yorker Summit featured Nassim Taleb and Bob Shiller. Shiller was placed, uncomfortably, in the role of defender of the status quo, saying that experts can be useful, that economics is a good thing, and that even the SEC has good people who are actually succeeding in making the world a better place.

Overconfidence and the financial crisis

Malcom Gladwell kicked off this morning’s New Yorker summit with a talk about the causes of the financial crisis in general, and of the collapse of Bear Stearns in particular, and started provocatively, by saying that if his diagnosis of the problem is correct, then really “there aren’t any solutions”.

Monday links ditch the conventional wisdom

Goldman arm shuns ratings with new credit strategy: Having an “investment-grade” mandate based on credit ratings is increasingly anachronistic.

The inefficient financial sector

Jim Surowiecki thinks that the rise in the size of the financial sector — at least until this decade — makes perfect sense:

Dubious statistic of the day, Nigerian email edition

How much do Nigerian email scammers make? According to Jeffrey Robinson, it’s the kind of money which would make a CEO blush:

Improving the Kindle

I subscribe to three daily newspapers: the WSJ and NYT get delivered on dead trees to my door, while the FT gets delivered electronically to my Kindle, ever since I got given the Amazon reader for my birthday last month. I also read all three on the web. But when it comes to off-web weekday reading, the Kindle is trouncing the dead trees, at least in terms of the amount of my attention it’s getting. It’s much smaller and lighter and more convenient than a newspaper — it’s easy to dip into on the subway or in other pockets of dead time.

Reading the stress-test leaks

Trying to do a stress test on a trillion-dollar bank is such a major undertaking that it can’t really be kept completely secret. So it’s hardly surprising that some stress-test results seem to be leaking:

Time for Chrysler’s bondholders to man up and move on

Joe Weisenthal is upset that the UAW seems to be getting the upper hand over hedge funds and vulture investors:

The power-journalism nexus

Yvette Kantrow has been combing Tim Geithner’s datebook, from his New York Fed days, not for meetings with bankers but rather for meetings with journalists. And it turns out that there were a lot of them, the vast majority completely off the record. Kantrow concludes: