Felix Salmon

Are Cooper Union’s finances fixable?

May 11, 2013

James Stewart has an important column on Cooper Union today: if you read it carefully, it hints at how much further Cooper might yet fall from its founding mission of providing free education. Cooper’s trustees are press-shy these days, but Stewart snagged an on-the-record interview with one of the most important ones: John Michaelson, the chair of the investment committee.

Counterparties: Well Fed critics

May 10, 2013

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Mail Online: Big, but not valuable

May 10, 2013

Back in December 2011, the Daily Mail had 45.3 million unique visitors, according to ComScore. By March 2013, 15 months later, that number had grown to 46.4 million, again according to ComScore. We learn the latter figure — but not the former — from Christine Haughney’s article about the website today:

The silliness of valuing hedge funds

May 10, 2013

How do you value a hedge fund? It’s impossible, really. You can see how much it earned in any given year, but past performance is a very bad guide to future results. In any case, all future income is reliant on both the investors and the managers sticking around, which means that the value of a hedge fund to its managers is always going to be higher than the value of a hedge fund to an outside investor with little ability to keep the managers in place.

Counterparties: Tesla stock goes vroom!

May 9, 2013

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The tragedy of US higher education

May 9, 2013

The tragedy of Cooper Union is endemic to most American higher education, outside a few community colleges; Cooper is just the special case where the blind rush to some kind of global greatness directly and explicitly violates the institution’s founding mission. Now a fantastic report by Stephen Burd shows that it’s not just Cooper which is becoming more expensive for precisely the students who can least afford it. Rather, that’s happening across the US: aid which should be going to the poorest students is in many cases going to some of the richest.

Counterparties: Putting a price on illness

May 8, 2013

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The IIF implodes

May 8, 2013

There’s a lot of money and power at the nexus of banking and policymaking, home of the infamous revolving door and the natural habitat of people like Mike Froman, America’s new trade representative, who has shuttled back and forth between government and Citigroup and who, behind the scenes, helped pick all of Barack Obama’s initial economic team. And wherever there’s money and power, you’re sure to find turmoil. If Promontory is the big winner these days, there’s also bound to be a big loser. Let me introduce you to the IIF.

Counterparties: Bipartisan disagreements

May 7, 2013

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