Felix Salmon


As Dominique Strauss-Kahn continues his campaign-in-all-but-name for the French presidency, another Gallic technocrat, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, is running for president of Peru. They have much more in common than the fact that they’re both commonly referred to by their initials — they both represent the old guard, the well-schooled elite, the ancien regime in a world where such regimes are crumbling by the hour.

Austerity’s inauspicious historical precedents

One of the best aspects of being a journalist is that you get to talk at length to the most knowledgeable and interesting experts on just about any subject you can think of. For me, yesterday was a prime case in point: a long and fascinating lunch with James Macdonald, the author of my favorite book on the history of sovereign debt. Turns out he also has a microscopic vineyard in Tuscany, so the conversation ebbed wonderfully from economics to wine and back.


This could be a great wine show — SFMOMA

Waldmann on Yglesias on me on Pfau — Robert’s Stochastic Thoughts; see also the fantastic comment thread on my post.

The Salmon-Cottrell HuffPo bet

A couple of weeks ago, Robert Cottrell took issue with my post explaining why the NYT is lagging behind the Huffington Post in terms of reader engagement. Robert is one of the great curators on the internet; he seems to read everything as soon as it comes out. It’s therefore unsurprising that he’s single-minded in how he reads and loathes distractions:

Privatizing Wisconsin

Ed at Gin and Tacos picked up on a particularly audacious section of the Wisconsin budget-repair bill yesterday: the governor can sell off any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plants he likes, at any price, to anybody he wants, without any kind of auction or bid-solicitation process, and such a sale would be defined as being in the best interest of the state and to comply with criteria for certifying such a transaction.


An important paper by David Miles concluding “that the amount of equity capital that is likely to be desirable for banks to hold is very much larger than banks have held in recent years and also higher than targets agreed under the Basel III framework” — Bank of England

Moving away from homeownership

After I appeared on All Things Considered this weekend, I got an incredibly gratifying email from a listener in McLean, Virginia, who’s moving to Jupiter, Florida:

The steady-savings retirement plan

Wade Pfau has a fascinating paper out called “Safe Savings Rates: A New Approach to Retirement Planning over the Lifecycle”. It’s really just the bones of such an approach: the details need to be fleshed out a lot. But I love the idea that we should get away from thinking about “the number” we need to be able to live comfortably in retirement. The effect of the number is to break life into two — pre-retirement and post-retirement: your goal pre-retirement is to reach the number, while your goal post-retirement is to spend it down slowly enough that it doesn’t run out before you die.

The dynamic economics of LCD Soundsystem tickets

A clear narrative emerged pretty quickly in the wake of last week’s LCD Soundsystem ticket fiasco. Annie Lowrey tried and failed to get tickets when they went on sale at 11am on Friday, but was foiled: