Felix Salmon

Doomed Europe

May 7, 2013

It’s long — at some 4,500 words — but I can highly recommend the debate between George Soros and Hans-Werner Sinn about what Soros calls The German Question.

Niall Ferguson’s history with Keynes

May 7, 2013

Brad DeLong has found a 1995 article by Niall Ferguson which pretty much puts the lie to Ferguson’s claim about his take on John Maynard Keynes. Here’s what Ferguson now says:

Counterparties: Split personalities

May 6, 2013

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Why CEOs should be rewarded for stock buybacks

May 6, 2013

Scott Thurm and Serena Ng have an odd piece in today’s WSJ, complaining about executive pay being tied to per-share results rather than overall numbers. Their poster child is Safeway CEO Steven Burd, who has overseen a substantial increase in earnings per share even as sales and profits have gone nowhere, by spending $1.2 billion on stock buybacks.

Why America’s population density is falling

May 4, 2013

I’m not sure why it took me until yesterday to find Paul Krugman’s post from April 16 about population density, where he found a very odd fact buried in a new Census report. We know that the population of the US is rising, and we know that the population of the US is also becoming increasingly urban. As a result, urban density — the number of people per square mile — has to be going up.

Counterparties: Masters of overcharging

May 3, 2013

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Understanding the painfully slow jobs recovery

May 3, 2013

Today’s jobs report was a solid one, and shows that the recovery, while not exactly strong, is at least not slowing down: Neil Irwin calls it “amazingly consistent”. Whether you look at the past 1 month, 12 months, 24 months, or 36 months, you’ll see the same thing: average payrolls growth of roughly 170,000 jobs per month. That’s not enough to bring unemployment down very quickly, given the natural growth in the workforce. But unemployment is coming down slowly. And at the rate we’re going, at some point in the second half of 2014 we should see total payrolls reach their pre-crisis levels, and the headline unemployment rate hit the key 6.5% level.

Counterparties: Underwater and over-bought

May 2, 2013

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Restaurant charts of the day, price/quality edition

May 2, 2013

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San Pellegrino has released its annual list of the 50 best restaurants in the world, and of course Quartz is on it. “Ultimately,” writes Adam Pasick, “the world’s best restaurants cater to a global elite who can afford to spend thousands of dollars for a meal”. It turn, that means Quartz, a publication devoted (in both senses of the word) to the global elite, needs to be all over it, with an analysis of how fast-growing countries are over-represented among the restaurants “making big leaps up the rankings”.