Felix Salmon

How to live with a financially illiterate population

November 25, 2009

John Carney is right: a very large number of Americans is always going to be financially illiterate, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Indeed, if we try too hard to do something about improving financial literacy, there’s a good chance we’ll only end up creating a new cohort of overconfident financial illiterates who think they understand things when they don’t.

The emerging-market bubble

November 25, 2009


This chart (via Paul) I think is too meek: of course the current emerging-markets boom is debt-financed. And boy does it look bubblicious, what with the Bovespa having doubled in the past 12 months and rapidly approaching its all-time high. I’m a believer in the long-term future of Brazil, and even count a Brazilian ETF among my few investments. But at this point any investment in emerging markets looks very much like a speculative momentum play: don’t invest anything you can’t afford to lose.

Why we should cap interchange fees

November 25, 2009

Keith Bradsher’s NYT story on Australian credit-card fees kicks off with an eye-opening anecdote:

Welcoming the HIV-positive

November 25, 2009

File under “about time too”: HIV-positive immigrants will be able to apply for a green card as of January 4. But I don’t like this part of Anna Gorman’s article:

Brazil vs the global carry trade

November 25, 2009

Even capital controls, it seems, are powerless in the face of the global carry trade:

Hero of the day: Jeffrey Spinner

November 25, 2009

Anybody who thinks that banks always act in their own best interest when a mortgage goes into default (I’m looking at you, Indiviglio) should read the wonderful judgment of Jeffrey Spinner, of Suffolk County Supreme Court, in the case of . Indymac Bank F.S.B. v Yano-Horoski. Apologies for quoting at some length, but it’s worth it:


November 25, 2009

Charles Diez Gets 120 Days for Shooting Cyclist in the Head — Streetsblog

Sponsor a 9/11 cobblestone! — 9/11 Memorial

Ben Davis on the “sense of coagulating ignorance surrounding the art world” — Artnet

Chicago’s parking deal revisited

November 24, 2009

After putting up a slightly hurried blog entry yesterday, I’ve spent a large part of this afternoon doing a deep dive into the sale of the license to run Chicago’s parking meters: many thank to the Parking Ticket Geek and Daniel Strauss of Gapers Block for prompting me to revisit the issue.

Clearing up Miller-Moore

November 24, 2009

Many thanks to Brad Miller, one of the co-sponsors of the Miller-Moore amendment, who has been doing the rounds of the blogs trying to explain what it does and doesn’t do. He left a comment on my blog on Sunday, and another on Yves Smith’s today; I then spent a good chunk of this morning on the phone to him, nailing down the thinking behind the amendment.