Felix Salmon

The problem with peer-to-peer lending

January 19, 2010

Mark Gimein has an important story today about Prosper, which is required reading for anybody — myself included — who has some hope about peer-to-peer lending helping to disintermediate banks and get credit flowing again to individuals and small businesses.

Too-big-to-fail is here to stay

January 19, 2010

Andrew Ross Sorkin has a slightly odd column today, asking whether it’s OK to have too-big-to-fail banks, and concluding — well, not really coming to any conclusion at all, actually.


January 19, 2010

Oxford University bans students from Spotify — Telegraph

Why we shouldn’t expect investment bankers to be great thinkers — TED

Neenah Enterprises had $15m in stockholders’ equity at year-end 2008. One year later, it’s -$162m. Oops — EDGAR

A retirement-fund paradox

January 19, 2010

David Merkel is insightful when it comes to a huge status-quo bias in retirement funds. If we have a lump sum, we’re loathe to convert it to a guaranteed income, even when we value the guaranteed income that we do have extremely highly:

The future of the cable-TV business model

January 19, 2010

For reasons that I don’t fully understand, Jim Surowiecki is not a fan of a-la-carte cable pricing, where you just pay for the channels you want, and not for the channels you don’t want. My views on the matter haven’t changed since 2007, but one big thing has: broadcast TV is now digital, which means that cable companies are extremely constrained as to how much they could charge for network TV in an a-la-carte world. As a result, it seems obvious to me that consumers would likely save a lot of money if they paid only for the channels they watched. (The one possible exception? Sports fans.)

Why the Fed should regulate banks

January 19, 2010

George Cooper asks whether or not banks should be regulated by the central bank, noting drily that “America sees salvation in replicating the failed British banking experiment while Britain sees salvation in returning to the equally discredited American model”. He adds:

How the NYT should construct its paywall

January 18, 2010

Gabriel Sherman says that the NYT is going to be putting up an FT-style paywall:

After a year of sometimes fraught debate inside the paper, the choice for some time has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system adopted by the Financial Times, in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system.


January 16, 2010

What would Jamie Dimon do if accosted by a midget? — Time

“Back when we would do like, you know, The Hundred Hottest Hotties, no men would watch that.” — Jezebel

Don’t give money to Haiti

January 15, 2010

Between the Twitter campaigns and the telethons and the corporate donations and the record sums raised through text messages, you can be sure that an enormous amount of cash is going to end up being raised to help Haiti. This is not necessarily a good thing.