Felix Salmon

S&P downgrades Europe

S&P brought its hammer down on Europe today, with nine — count ‘em — downgrades of euro zone countries. The removal of France’s triple-A has been getting most of the headlines, but for me the bigger news is the fact that Portugal has now been downgraded to junk status.

Nine posts in one

As my posts have been getting longer of late, I’ve ended up with a vast number of items that I meant to write but, well, haven’t. Since I’m not going to get to all of them, I’ll do some quick hits here.

Art market datapoints of the day, China edition

I suspect we’re still only in its early days, but there’s no doubt that we’re in a massive Chinese-art bubble right now. And for proof, all you need to do is look at the league table of the highest-grossing artists of 2011.


Geithner to Greenspan in ’06: “I’d like the record to show that I think you’re pretty terrific, too” — Alphaville

Will US courts take aim at credit-card interchange?

Dan Freed has an amazing story today about credit-card interchange fees — the ones that weren’t touched at all by the Durbin amendment in the Dodd-Frank bill. But it turns out that the courts might yet prove even tougher than Congress: various suits working their way through the legal system could end up costing the banks hundreds of billions of dollars in settlement costs — plus a reduction of interchange fees to something approaching international norms.

How capitalism kills companies

As Mitt Romney cruises to his inevitable coronation as the Republican presidential candidate, increasing amounts of attention are being focused on his history at Bain Capital, where he made his fortune. Did he create 100,000 jobs, as he claims? Or is he a vulture and asset stripper?

Ben Stein Watch, lawsuit edition

Many thanks to Yoree Koh (and @Dutch_Book) for bringing Ben Stein’s lawsuit against Kyocera to my attention. You can download the whole thing here, but it’s worth spelling out some of the more hilarious parts.


The number of illegal immigrants in the US is going down, not up — NYT

Peter Eavis makes his debut on DealBook — NYT

Hennesy Youngman on Damien Hirst — YouTube

How Often Should I Charge My Gadget’s Battery to Prolong Its Lifespan? — Lifehacker

Art is not an investment, part 872

I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the SWAG acronym (it stands for Silver, Wine, Art, Gold), or Patrick Mathurin’s lede in Monday’s FT: