Felix Salmon

The Cyprus precedent

March 17, 2013

I stuck my neck out in January, saying that Cyprus was “certain” to default. After all, the Europeans weren’t willing to come up with the €17 billion needed to bail the country out, and EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn told the WSJ’s Stephen Fidler that Cyprus would have to restructure its debt. But now the bailout has arrived, and — in something of a shocker — there’s no default. Instead, €5.8 billion of the bailout is going to come directly from depositors in Cyprus’s banks, in the form of what the EU is calling an “upfront one-off stability levy”.

Counterparties: Ina the belly of the whale

March 15, 2013

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The many flavors of native content

March 15, 2013

A story about smartphone use in emerging markets appeared on Quartz Wednesday morning. The byline at the top is that of Donald Fitzmaurice, the CEO of Brandtone, who wrote the introduction and the conclusion. The rest of the piece comprises short country reports from Brandtone employees in South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and Turkey. The ostensible message of the piece is about smartphones. The real message of the piece is “hey, look at us, you might not have heard of us, but we’re thought leaders in the mobile space, and we’re in lots of different countries around the world”.

Counterparties: When debt becomes a problem

March 14, 2013

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Did Google just kill RSS?

March 14, 2013

On Tuesday, Google paid $7 million to settle charges with a coalition of 38 states in relation to its privacy breaches. The 14-page agreement is pretty detailed, and includes promises from Google to spend a substantial amount of effort educating the public about the importance of securing wifi networks. (Which gives me a sad: I love unsecured wifi networks, and have yet to find any empirical data supporting the thesis that they cause real damage.)

Counterparties: Retiring the 401(k)

March 13, 2013

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Britain’s fiscal failure

March 13, 2013

Never mind Sachs vs Krugman: by far the most interesting and important fiscal-policy debate right now is Cameron vs Wolf.

Counterparties: Thundering herd immunity

March 12, 2013

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When crowds disintermediate charities

March 12, 2013

Seth Stevenson has a problem with the fact that the Internet raised $703,168 for Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor. That kind of money is “disproportionate”, he says, adding: