Felix Salmon

Occupy’s amazing Volcker Rule letter

February 14, 2012

One of the saddest aspects of the financialization of the US economy is the way in which America’s best and brightest found themselves working on Wall Street, rather than in jobs which improved the state of the world. Proof of this comes from the absolutely astonishing 325-page comment letter on the Volcker Rule which has been put together by Occupy the SEC; it’s pretty clear, from reading the letter, that the people who wrote it are whip-smart and extremely talented.

Remuneration datapoint of the day, Pimco edition

February 13, 2012

Jenn Ablan and Matt Goldstein report on the mind-boggling amounts of money being made at Pimco (Note, as per the update below, that Pimco says that the numbers here are “wildly inaccurate”):

Why art isn’t a commodity, Cady Noland edition

February 13, 2012

Dan Duray had the news on Friday of the latest big-money lawsuit in the New York art world: dealer Marc Jancou is suing Sotheby’s and artist Cady Noland for $26 million.

Annals of private equity, Tamara Mellon edition

February 13, 2012

When Tony Hsieh sold Zappos to Amazon, there were lots of glowing stories about his monster success. Only later did it emerge that he never wanted to sell at all, but felt forced to do so by his VC backers.

Quality vs quantity online

February 12, 2012

At about the same time that Michael Kinsley’s hilarious response to a blog post of mine hit the web, The Atlantic also uploaded to its website Kathleen McAuliffe’s excellent story about how parasites shape our behavior.

Why Mark Zuckerberg shouldn’t listen to management gurus

February 10, 2012

This is why Mark Zuckerberg was smart to stay in complete control of Facebook and not listen to anybody telling him that a multi-billion-dollar company needed a seasoned, professional CEO in charge.

Where Obama’s economic policy went wrong

February 10, 2012

In one of his biggest errors as economic advisor to the president, Larry Summers told Barack Obama that “It is easier to add down the road to insufficient fiscal stimulus than to subtract from excessive fiscal stimulus. We can if necessary take further steps.”

Rubber ducks explain the Greek negotiations

February 10, 2012

Is there really a done deal in Greece? I hope so — but it’s pretty clear that nothing’s in the bag quite yet. In terms of my video above, the Greeks consider themselves in the boat at this point — but the Europeans worry that the Greeks might go back on their promises, so they want not only the Greek executive but also the Greek legislature to sign on. (I didn’t even have a duck for the Greek legislature, I thought the only legislatures we needed to worry about were in Germany and Finland.)

Charts of the day, US legal immigration edition

February 9, 2012

In general, immigration is incredibly healthy for any economy. Immigrants tend to work hard, boost GDP, fill jobs which would otherwise be hard to fill, and also create jobs of their own. But whatever’s true of immigrants in general is much more true of legal immigrants. And whatever’s true of legal immigrants in general is much more true of smart, high-qualified legal immigrants.