Items of Interest:
Niall Ferguson / Vanity Fair:
Wall Street Lays Another Egg -- Not so long ago, the dollar stood for a sum of gold, and bankers knew the people they lent to. The author charts the emergence of an abstract, even absurd world—call it Planet Finance—where mathematical models ignored both history and human nature, and value had no meaning.
This year we have lived through something more than a financial crisis. We have witnessed the death of a planet. Call it Planet Finance. Two years ago, in 2006, the measured economic output of the entire world was worth around $48.6 trillion. The total market capitalization of the world’s stock markets was $50.6 trillion, 4 percent larger. The total value of domestic and international bonds was $67.9 trillion, 40 percent larger. Planet Finance was beginning to dwarf Planet Earth.
Planet Finance seemed to spin faster, too. Every day $3.1 trillion changed hands on foreign-exchange markets. Every month $5.8 trillion changed hands on global stock markets. And all the time new financial life-forms were evolving. The total annual issuance of mortgage-backed securities, including fancy new “collateralized debt obligations” (C.D.O.’s), rose to more than $1 trillion. The volume of “derivatives”—contracts such as options and swaps—grew even faster, so that by the end of 2006 their notional value was just over $400 trillion. Before the 1980s, such things were virtually unknown. In the space of a few years their populations exploded. On Planet Finance, the securities outnumbered the people; the transactions outnumbered the relationships...
Allahpundit / Hot Air: Dow tanks again, biggest two-day drop since 1987
Bailout Bucks to Banks -- Here’s our running tally of the banks that have announced preliminary approval by the Treasury Department for participation in the capital injection program. We'll update as more names come in. And if you're heard of new recipients, drop us a line. Total amount committed for investment so far: 170.8476 billion
Chrysler cash drains away as crisis deepens -- Chrysler LLC is rapidly burning through cash and being driven to prepare for a possible break-up if it can't clinch a merger with General Motors Corp or get government funding needed to ride out the economic crisis, people with knowledge of the situation said...
Are The Big 3 Running Out of Time--and Options?
- A Successor To Camelot? Let's Hope Not - Mark Hulbert, MarketWatch
- Proceed With Care, Mr. Obama - Floyd Norris, New York Times
- Change That's Needed Most: Trade Credit - Randall Forsyth, Barron's
- Five Reasons Why Obama Victory Will Relieve Asia - W. Pesek, Bloomberg
- The Second Global Engine--China--Is Slowing - Nouriel Roubini, Forbes
- Four Reasons To Be Skittish - Jim Cramer, The Street.com
- The World Economy: Can We Go Up Again? - Giles, Guha & Atkins, FT
- A Long Recession May Help Sports - Steven Stark, RealClearSports
- New President Has a Mandate to Redistribute - Paul Krugman, NYTimes
- Hope and Change or Duck and Cover? - Bill Frezza, RealClearMarkets
- 24 Hours on Wall Street With Obama - David Weidner, MarketWatch
- President-Elect Faces Difficult Choice at Treasury - Peter Gosselin, LAT
- How to End the Recession - Robert Pollin, The Nation
- Creative Fixes For U.S. Finances - Jim Jubak , MSNMoney
- Why Peter Thiel Knew Banks Were Troubled - Peter Robinson, Forbes
- Sarkozy Turns SWF Idea Upside Down - Michael Sesit, Bloomberg
- Tuesday Was a Banner Day for Unions - Editorial , Investor's Business Daily
- FDIC Is Another Government Lender at Risk - Peter Coy, BusinessWeek
- The Great Tax Revolt of 2012 - Rich Karlgaard, Digital Rules
- Democrats and Stocks: History Is Bullish - DealBook
- The Stock Market: Dems v. Republicans - Elizabeth MacDonald, Fox Business
- The Hedge Fund Business, Explained - Henry Blodget, Clusterstock
- Demonizing CDSs Is Dangerous, Kevin Drum Edition - Market Movers
- Aftershocks From the October Meltdown - Gary Dorsch, Sir Charts-a-Lot
- A Towering Economic To-Do List for President Obama - New York Times
- Barack Obama and The (Ever-Fewer) Taxpayers - Alan Reynolds, Forbes
- Obama's Change You Can Believe in Meets Reality - C. Baum, Bloomberg
- Deflation Is The New Threat to the Global Economy - Colin Barr, Fortune
- U.S. Needs a Bipartisan Coalition on Trade - L. Hindery & S. Singham, FT
- Super-Sizing The IMF Is Wrong - Kenneth Rogoff, The Guardian
- In Defense of Those Much-Maligned Credit-Default Swaps - The Economist