Felix Salmon

Paywall math, Guardian edition

There’s been a lot of speculation on this blog about the economics of the NYT paywall. So let’s stop speculating and look at what Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, has to say on the subject. After all, the Guardian, and its website, are in a very similar situation to that of the NYT: a newspaper which has a huge online audience, but which is still losing a lot of money. What’s more, there’s a good chance that a NYT paywall, if it’s set high enough, will catapult the Guardian into position as the most widely-read newspaper in the English-speaking world.

Abnormal Returns gets even better

Abnormal Returns has gone real-time! The indispensible link-fest will still arrive daily, but now that Tadas Viskantas has sold his site to StockTwits, a second column has appeared on the site, with “links in real time”, mainly from Twitter.

The corporate conscience

Justin Fox kicks off his new HBR blog with a cracking post on the jurisprudence of treating corporations as persons. If John Roberts really believes that shareholders control corporations, he says, that’s all the more reason not to allow corporations the rights of individuals — and he uses Milton Friedman, of all people, to make his case:

The legislative headaches of the Volcker Rule

Tracy Alloway has the transcript of the White House background briefing on the new, Volcker-inspired, banking regulations. And yes, they do require extra legislation:

Capital wins over labor at Goldman

2009 was the year when stocks and unemployment both rose substantially: the ultra-loose monetary policies being followed by central banks around the world seemed to help capital more than they did labor. That’s good for banks in general, and for Goldman Sachs in particular, which makes its money from markets rather than from lending.

Indisciplined Democrats vs regulatory reform

Barack Obama ran what was arguably the most disciplined and on-message presidential campaign in history. But all that the Republicans need to do right now to ensure that financial regulatory reform never happens is sit back and watch the Democrats fight each other to a bloody stalemate. It’s inconceivable that the GOP would ever allow itself to get into a mess like this.

Revisiting the uncollectable artwork

I think, but I’m not sure, that I’m a key vector through which A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter started going viral: my blog entry on the artwork got picked up by Tyler Cowen (and others) before the artist, Caleb Larsen, was interviewed by Wired.co.uk in a story which was then Slashdotted. The work, which was originally priced at $2,500, had a couple of days to go when I blogged it, but didn’t end up selling in that auction.

How Justin Fox almost saved American democracy

It’s auf Wiedersehen but not goodbye to Justin Fox, as he leaves his perch at Time to blog anew at HBR come Monday. His value to the blogosphere was clear from his very first post, a thousand-word disquisition on how boards of directors are a bit like an tonsils: “a largely useless, if mostly harmless, institution”. It included this passage:

Should Krugman replace Bernanke?

What would happen if Ben Bernanke withdrew his name from consideration as Fed chairman tomorrow, and Barack Obama picked up the phone and asked Paul Krugman to step into the breach? Bruce Bartlett reckons that “Paul has enough sense not to accept the position even if it is offered–just as Milton Friedman rejected Reagan’s offer for him to replace Volcker in 1982″ — but I’m not so sure. After Simon Johnson proposed the idea this morning Krugman said that it was “crazy” — but he did so without saying that he would refuse the job if offered. I think he’s sensible to leave the door ajar: it’s really hard to say no to a president who asks you to serve your country by taking what Matt Yglesias calls “the single most important domestic policy job in the country”.