Felix Salmon

Bikinis in Basel

Just how far is the WSJ moving towards UK-style journalism? Well, the editor of its European edition, Patience Wheatcroft, used to edit the Sunday Telegraph — a broadsheet gently ribbed in media circles for its ability to illustrate just about any story with a picture of a girl in a bikini.

Why credit-card interest rates won’t be capped

What happens if you cap credit-card interest rates at 16%? Yes, at the margin, the amount of credit extended on credit cards would fall. That’s a feature, not a bug. But would it fall dramatically? Pamela Yip quotes Odysseas Papadimitriou:


Is there a simple physical limit to how many wireless broadband customers you can have in a small area? — Phorgy

Spurious academic study of the day, Tiger Woods edition

You knew it had to happen at some point: a couple of economics professors at UC Davis have done an “event study” of the Tiger Woods news cycle, and concluded that

There’s no tradeoff between dynamism and safety

Raghuram Rajan tells the WSJ’s Mark Whitehouse that when it comes to capitalism, there’s a natural tradeoff between security, on the one hand, and dynamism, on the other. Justin Fox adds some necessary skepticism:

Where does John Mackey get his power?

Nick Paumgarten’s 9,000-word profile of John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, obviously went to press too late to incorporate the news that he’s finally stepping down as chairman of the company.


AT&T stops selling iPhones in NYC because their network here is so craptastic — Consumerist, AllThingsD

It’s impossible to price a CDO

The discussion about Goldman’s synthetic CDOs just happens to coincide with a separate thread about a working paper by four researchers at Princeton, who seem to have a solid mathematical demonstration that CDOs simply can’t be priced: the amount of computing power necessary to do so just doesn’t exist.

The return of GDP bonds

GDP bonds are the instrument that refuses to die: Robert Shiller has resuscitated them in the NYT this weekend, this time with equity-like characteristics.