Felix Salmon

Counterparties: Austerity bites

February 22, 2013

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

The high-cost index-fund 401(k)

February 22, 2013

I like index funds, and I believe that the best way to maximize your retirement savings is, simply, to save more money. So I was intrigued to see a press release from Charles Schwab this week, touting its new 401(k) product, which combines index funds with opt-out advice services. The results, according to Schwab, are impressive: investors save 77% on operating expenses, and also tend to put more money into their plans:

Counterparties: Can America’s doctors cure the deficit?

February 21, 2013

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

Content economics, part 1: advertising

February 21, 2013

Back in December, Peter Kafka summed up the most important question with regards to the future of online advertising. Do advertising dollars ultimately end up where people spend their time, he asked, echoing Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker says, or, pace Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger, is that a “fallacy”?

Counterparties: All loans are risky loans

February 20, 2013

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

The long arm of the Google

February 20, 2013

Is Google becoming a key arm of the law-enforcement complex? It certainly seems to be so with respect to art thefts. I first came across this idea back in November, when Bloomberg Markets profiled Jeff Gundlach, who was hit by art thieves in September:

Counterparties: Industrial-strength tax avoidance

February 19, 2013

Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com.

An apology

February 19, 2013

I wrote something stupid on Friday. I was putting together a follow-up post about Maria Popova and her blog, Brain Pickings, covering a bunch of points I’d failed to make in my original post on the subject. And it turns out that there were a lot of those points: the follow-up post ran to more than 2,400 words, on top of the 1,000-word original.

Why poor people pay more bribes than rich people

February 18, 2013

Azam Ahmed has a report from Kabul’s ‘Car Guantánamo’ today:

Behind these walls are thousands of cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and even bicycles, lined up in vehicular purgatory after falling afoul of the Kabul traffic police. Things that have landed cars in the slammer: illegal left turns, parking violations, involvement in fender-benders and, perhaps most egregious, failure to pay a bribe.