I’m in Berlin this week, at the annual INET meetings, where the big theme this year seems to be an attempt to rope in everyone from anthropologists to neuroscientists in an attempt to solve the big economic problems which are proving intractable to economists. But still, it’s the economics and finance folk who are top of the agenda. And since George Soros is footing a large part of the bill for this conference, he and his latest op-ed are getting star billing. Sadly, however, most of the delegates have been at the conference all day and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to read Mohamed El-Erian’s speech in St Louis, which is equally germane.
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If you haven’t read it, I can highly recommend Paul Kiel’s magnum opus on the US foreclosure crisis, available online or as a Kindle Single. Kiel tells the national story using synecdoche: the story of Shelia Ramos is representative of millions of others. And Kiel makes it very clear just how typical her tale is, zooming back out to a big-picture view on a regular and welcome basis.
Anna Gelpern puts it well: “for the small but committed contingent of pari passu pointy heads, this is WorldCupOlympicMarchMadnessSuperBowl.” I’m one of the contingent, and I’ve been actively enjoying myself reading various appeals and amici briefs in the case of Elliott Associates vs Argentina. (Technically, it’s not Elliott Associates but rather NML, an Elliott sub-fund, but make no mistake: this is very much a fight between Argentina and the most famous vulture fund in the world.)
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Remember the Krugman vs Summers debate last year? That was fun, in its own way. But this year’s Munk Debate looks set to be simply depressing. The invitation has the details: the motion is “be it resolved that the European experiment has failed”. And I’m reasonably confident that the “pro” side — Niall Ferguson and Josef Joffe — is going to win.