Felix Salmon

The ethics of accepting BP’s money

September 20, 2010

There are serious ethical questions surrounding whether or not investors should own stock in BP. But is it also unethical for art galleries and museums to accept money from BP? Time’s Frances Perraudin gives the people who think so a lot of sympathetic space:

Adventures in probability, market forecasting edition

September 20, 2010

Carl Richards has a cute graph:


The basic idea here is right. And in fact Richards understates, in his graph, just how bad things are when it comes to market forecasts: his graph curves the wrong way.

The whining rich

September 20, 2010

Todd Henderson’s whine about how he’s only scraping by on $450,000 a year in his million-dollar Chicago house is causing quite a stir in the blogosphere. (Tyler Cowen says that “this number seems not to be true”, but Henderson isn’t clarifying things, and it’s very hard to come up with a substantially lower number which would result in his family still paying “nearly $100,000 in federal and state taxes”.)

Momentum sans hindsight

September 20, 2010

Here’s a great way of making money in the market. At the end of every month, look to see whether stocks went up or whether they went down. If they went up, then buy stocks at the average price for the month. And if they went down, then sell stocks at the average price for the month. Follow that strategy for 130 years, and you can turn $1 into $50,000!

Ben Stein’s fiscal policy

September 20, 2010

Here’s Ben Stein in August 2008, when we were at the depths of the longest recession in postwar history:

Do we need an inflation target?

September 20, 2010

Tyler Cowen thinks that the Fed should adopt a 3% inflation target; Jim Surowiecki is inclined to agree. What’s more, they also agree that it’s not going to happen. Tyler has an interesting theory, on this front:

Women desert Wall Street

September 20, 2010

Chart of the day comes from Kyle Stock:


This is very bad indeed: women are leaving the financial-services industry even as men are joining it; and the trend is most pronounced among the youngest cohorts of the population, who will be running the industry in the future.


September 20, 2010

“If you pledge to not drive on campus, Stanford will actually pay you! $250!” — Paddy Hirsch

The economics of One World Trade Center

September 19, 2010

Many thanks to Joe Nocera for raising the issue of One World Trade Center’s finances. It’s by far the tallest and most expensive building that New York has ever seen, and it’s no thing of beauty, either. Plus, there’s not nearly enough demand for new top-grade office space to justify building so much of it at this location and at this time. So what exactly is the Port Authority thinking?