Felix Salmon

Europe goes mad over art

Georgina Adam has the gobsmacking story, for the Art Newspaper: according to the European Commission, works by Dan Flavin and Bill Viola are not art.

Counterparties

Is Mary Meeker’s job these days really to sit on various tech boards? — Fortune

Why the FCIC might release its data

Keith Hennessey, one of the four Republican commissioners on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, has helpfully provided a copy of the Financial Crisis Primer the commissioners sent to the President and Congress. The commissioners sent the primer “to as best we can comply with the deadline in the law”, writes Hennessey in two different colors, adding:

Things for which we owe Larry Summers some gratitude

I did enjoy reading John Cassidy on Larry Summers:

There are things not to like about Summers, one of which is the fact that he appears to hold the Fourth Estate in contempt. At the same event where he failed to thank his boss, a speech to the Economic Policy Institute, a journalist asked him what he would miss most about being in the White House. “Reporters like you,” he replied with a chuckle. Doubtless, Summers thought he was being amusing. Still, reporters need to get over it. After all, we aren’t the only folks Larry considers intellectually beneath him. Such a category would include most members of President Obama’s cabinet and their top policy advisers; many of his colleagues in the White House; virtually all foreign officials; ninety per cent of the Harvard faculty; and a similar proportion, or possibly higher, of his fellow academic economists.

How to monetize a Broadway show

Catherine Rampell has an interesting post today on the economics of Spider-Man, the most expensive musical that Broadway has ever seen. Even assuming it’s a massive hit, she says, it’ll make its producers no more than $313,489.80 a week—which means it will be “about 4 years before the show even begins to make up its initial investment.”

$190,000 a year is rich

I just started reading Erika Olson’s Zero-Sum Game, her account of the CBOT-CME merger. Her introduction of the CBOT’s CEO, Bernie Dan, includes this passage about his college days:

The WSJ mistrusts companies which pay down debt

Sharon Terlep’s story on GM trying to pay down its debt is a great indicator of how the leverage-is-good meme simply refuses to die, even after the financial crisis.

The FCIC falls apart

Shahien Nasiripour reports this morning that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has, to all intents and purposes, fallen apart. The four Republicans seem set to issue their own minority report, sticking to discredited Republican talking points which blame the government and Frannie for the crisis, with especial focus on the long-standing and harmless Community Reinvestment Act. As a result, the official report will be received as some kind of equal-and-opposite Democrat view, rather than a definitive take along the lines of the 9/11 Commission report.

Counterparties

“One senior defense official questioned the wisdom of blocking the newspaper sites” — WSJ