Counterparties

March 23, 2012

It’s been a long wait, but we’re finally getting around to sending out Counterparties by email every weekday afternoon. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. (See, you knew there was a reason you gave us your email address.) If you’re not registered, and don’t want to go through that process, email Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com (which is also our tips line) and we’ll try to add you to the list manually. This is very much an experimental work in progress, so all feedback is greatly appreciated.

The presumed next head of the World Bank is not a replica of Robert McNamara, Paul Wolfowitz, or even Robert Zoellick. He’s a South Korea-born, MacArthur “genius” award winner, the co-founder of a ground-breaking NGO and holds an M.D. and a PhD. He’s been on a host of magazine lists of influentials and is the first Asian-American head of an Ivy League college.

He’s also, arguably, a triple-threat (rapping, dancing, singing):

There’s more triple-threating from Jim Kim here.

It’s a surprise pick. Kim, Felix warns, has no experience navigating the Game of Thrones-like structures of world geopolitics. But, there’s reason for a kind of measured hope. And not only because Jeff Sachs is on board.

Fred Hiatt notes, “Kim will be the first bank leader who has dedicated most of his professional life to working with and for the world’s poor.” Hiatt adds that Partners in Health, the NGO Kim co-founded, took a unique approach to public health: “One of its key innovations was to enlist the poor themselves into the health system, training community workers to make sure, for example, that patients take their TB or AIDS medicines every day.”

This could be significant departure for the World Bank, which controls some $57 billion in aid dollars. And Kim says some very encouraging things in this talk at Boston University. It stands to reason that a doctor-anthropologist might at least attempt to take a wholly different approach to the World Bank’s mission than a technocrat.

So there’s some reason for optimism. We would certainly not want to hear Bob Zoellick sing.

Today’s links:

Rent-Seeking:
Bank of America will now rent you the home you just lost – WashPo
Principal reduction for struggling homeonwers could actually save Fannie, Freddie money – ProPublica
This was an idea Felix proposed 2.5 years ago – The Atlantic

Wonks
Stimulus spending can actually pay for itself – Economist
Related: The full Summers-DeLong paper – Brookings

MF Doom
John Corzine gave “direct instructions” to move $200 million customer funds – Bloomberg

Legalese
The Supreme’s Court decision on healthcare will have nothing to do with law, everything to do with “optics, politics and public opinion” – Slate
Related: Why Obama’s health care bill will survive — even if conservative justices hate it – Reuters

Morgan Stanley wants buy back all of Citi’s stake in its joint venture – Reuters

Compelling
An epic argument that Google is in very big trouble – Gizmodo

Fail
Bats Global Markets withdraws IPO on its own exchange after series of errors – Bloomberg

Wonks
Krugman: The Macro wars are not over – NYT

Investigations
The SEC is probing HFT, looking for unfair advantages – WSJ

Awesome
____ is the next ____ – Buzzfeed

Fine Print
JPMorgan is being sued for a typo that overstated a trader’s salary by $3 million – Bloomberg

Politicking
“We’ll fight this to the death” – Community banks and credit unions would rather fight than help each other – HuffPost

Tax Arcana
“The problem is not tax rates. The problem is the definition of income” – Aleph blog

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