The People v. The Flu

In Plagues and Peoples, published in 1976, William McNeill argued that human history can be thought of as the co-evolution of our societies and the “microparasites” to which we are prone.  The emergence of settled agriculture, major historial movements of people, and industrialization all brought with them new or more intense diseases.  Eventually, most societies figured […]

Chrysler: bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered

It looks like Chrysler is going down for the count. A few piggish bondholders decided to play chicken with the Federal Government. They are going to lose this game and, consequently, lots of money too. Chrysler and the Obama Administration did not have a strong hand. Their best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) was […]

HRE: defusing the German financial time bomb

The first bank nationalization in German history is about to take place. At issue is Hypo Real Estate (HRE), a troubled Munich-based company that lends to commercial property developers and to build offices, hotels, roads, airports, you name it. This issue has been building for nearly 7 months. Back in late September, just after Lehman […]

Fighting Darth Vader

Macro Man feels like he’s channelling Star Wars. Yesterday’s action was drearily predictable, with the poor GDP figure met with risk-asset buying, and the Fed non-announcement met with more risk-asset buying. Oh, sure, the Fed said that they were gonna keep rates low for an extended (Is that longer than “considerable”? – Ed.) period. Of […]

Consumer confidence up, Nationwide house prices only modestly down

Better news from the consumer sector, suggesting the impact of the massive easing of monetary policy may be starting to feed through, despite the headwinds of sharply rising unemployment and the credit crunch. The GfK-NOP consumer confidence index rose to its highest level for nearly a year, while confidence in the economy over the next […]

“No Time to Dither”

Brad DeLong: There is no time to dither in a meltdown, by J. Bradford DeLong, Project Syndicate: Are the world’s governments capable of keeping the world economy out of a deep and long depression? Three months ago, I would have said yes, without question. Now, I am not so certain. The problem is not that […]

Between the Lines

If you were looking for a proof that the IMF needs to revamp its communication tactics, and/or that (some) journalists need to learn how to read, you need to go no further than the Fund’s $4.1 trillion estimate of the global losses in the financial sector. The number sounds staggering, even compared to the IMF’s […]

The Cost of a “Non-Trivial” Flu Epidemic

The Daily Telegraph has compiled some rather sobering data on what the economic cost of the flu pandemic could ultimately be. This is a little less rosy than Steve Liesman’s prediction that everything will blow over in a day or two. As a reminder the WHO is raising the epidemic to level 5, its second […]

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