Felix Salmon

Crisis chart of the day: The correlation between severity and probability

The World Economic Forum has released its annual Global Risks report, which kicks off with this chart:

JP Morgan still financing mountaintop removal mining

In the wake of the publication of an extremely high-impact article in Science magazine which says that mountaintop removal mining has enormous environmental impacts which can’t possibly be mitigated, the campaign against JP Morgan Chase’s financing of such activity is heating up again:

The very real moral-hazard trade

Ezra Klein takes Jamie Dimon at face value when Dimon told the FCIC yesterday that the market didn’t consider bank debt to be risk-free, and that therefore there wasn’t a moral hazard too-big-to-fail trade.

Why the bank tax is necessary

Tim Fernholz links to the official government factsheet on the bank tax, which gives a lot more detail on how it’s structured. One thing that jumped out at me is that something along these lines is actually required by law:

The bank tax emerges

Jackie Calmes has the broad outlines of the new bank tax, and I like the way it looks: essentially, it’s a 0.15% tax on bank liabilities excluding deposits (which already come with an FDIC fee attached). It would be paid by roughly 50 firms, including GE Capital, and would raise something on the order of $90 billion over 10 years. That’s an average of $180 million per firm per year, which seems eminently affordable to me.


Wi-Fi on Acela! — Economist

Jon Stewart on bank bonuses: great stuff — Daily Show

Why wasn’t Pandit at the FCIC hearings? Is the real reason that he’s about to get fired? — The Deal

John Paulson’s high-risk hubris

Malcom Gladwell is no particular expert on financial markets. But he has said, according to Moe Tkacik, that of all the people he has interviewed, he most identifies with Nassim Nicholas Taleb — in a 7,800-word profile which explains just how hard it is to invest in markets when your strategy involves losing money every day and waiting for a tail event.

Those weak sovereign credits

Is there any sovereign credit which looks remotely attractive these days? I feel like a bit of a heel talking about fiscal distress even as the attention of the world is rightly concentrated on much more pressing real distress in Haiti. But the drumbeat is getting hard to ignore.

Goldman’s conflicts

Andrew Ross Sorkin has got his hands on what looks for all the world like a pro-forma piece of legal CYA out of Goldman Sachs, and is trying to turn it into a story: