Felix Salmon

Why are private markets booming now?

I’m spending Friday at the Kauffman Foundation’s Economics Bloggers Forum in Kansas City. A dozen bloggers are giving short presentations, and I’m flattered to be one of them, along with the likes of Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Ryan Avent, Dean Baker, Steve Waldman, and Virginia Postrel. We’ve all been encouraged to write a post about our talk.


Ethics and escalators — SciAm

Dave Sokol resigns from Berkshire Hathaway, under stock-trading cloud, citing desire to get rich — TBI

Greenspan squanders his final reserve of credibility

Thank you, internet: Henry Farrell and his commenters have all the snark so desperately required in response to Alan Greenspan’s ludicrous op-ed in the FT. And they’re not alone: as Alex Eichler notes, “everyone is laughing at Alan Greenspan today”. Greenspan could hardly have made himself look like more of an idiot if he’d tried, not only because the “notably rare exceptions” construction is so inherently snarkworthy, but also because it’s so boneheadedly stupid. Anything which normally makes money is a good idea if you ignore the times that it doesn’t work.

Chart of the day: US financial profits

Kathleen Madigan had an important post on Friday, showing financial profits roaring back to more than 30% of all domestic US profits. As she says, “that’s an amazing share given that the sector accounts for less than 10% of the value added in the economy” — and makes it “hard for banks to cry poverty” when it comes to things like debit-card interchange legislation.


A tribute to journalist and colleague Sabah al-Bazee — Reuters

Footage from “Jeff Koons Must Die” video game — Switched

More Bogus Lobbying Numbers from the Banks: Debit Interchange Rates — Credit Slips

The best report ever on media piracy

I’m way late to the massive and wonderful report on Media Piracy in Emerging Economies by Joe Karaganis and a big team of international researchers. I blame the fact that Karaganis sent me the report a week before it was formally released, on the sensible grounds that it might take a bit of time for me to digest its 440 pages of detailed new information on one of the defining issues of the information age. Of course, like any good procrastinator, I did no such thing. But I’ve read a good chunk of the report at this point, and I highly advise you do likewise — or else sit back with Karaganis’s presentation of its main points.

Do second liens stay current when first liens default?

How many homeowners are current on their second mortgage while being delinquent on their first? When I wrote about this issue last week, I cited David Lowman, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase Home Lending saying that some 64% of borrowers who are 30-59 days delinquent on a first lien serviced by Chase are current on their second lien. That came from his formal Congressional testimony, via Mike Konczal.

Brazil’s love of equity

About the same time that “junk bonds” became “high yield” and shortly after “third world” became “emerging markets,” the finance industry quietly engineered another rebranding: “leveraged buyouts” became “private equity.”


What having a US passport says about you — Atlantic

“The zillionaires are on the brink of an almost complete victory” — MoJo