I recently took possession of one of the most beautiful art objects I own. It’s a book — an absolutely stunning one — and it’s just been published by Yale University Press. It’s the New Complete Edition of Interaction of Color, the legendary book by Bauhaus master Josef Albers. And if you know anybody who loves color, or art, or ever took a color class at art school, or just has bibliophilic tendencies, they will remember you fondly forever if you give it to them.
What’s the correlation between wealth and risk appetite? I suspect that it’s somewhat bell-shaped: when you’re very poor you can’t afford to take any risks, while if you’re entering the middle classes you often feel that you have to take risks, especially with your retirement assets, if you’re going to have a chance of maintaining your standard of living once you stop working. If you already have more money than you’ll ever spend, however, then you don’t need to take those kind of risks any more, and you start becoming much more conservative again — see for instance the way in which Suze Orman is invested only in wrapped munis.
Call it the final death knell for arguably the frothiest deal that the US residential real-estate market has ever seen — the sale of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper village in Manhattan for $5.4 billion in 2006. The driving force behind the deal was the expectation that the new owners could and would be much more aggressive than the old owners (Met Life) in converting rent-stabilized apartments to market rate. Now, however, all the apartments they did manage to convert to market rate are being converted back:
How incompetent is Citigroup? Incompetent enough that even today, when the bank is announcing a major agreement with the government to pay back its TARP money, neither its chairman nor its CEO was able to turn up to a meeting with the president of the United States of America.
Eric Lipton has an excellent summary of a scathing government audit of a scheme to improve the quality of the information that states and cities have about traffic congestion. (The report isn’t meant to be online until later this afternoon, but I downloaded it from the inspector general’s website with no problem, and have put it here.)