The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aloha from Hawaii--some pics and 1930s banking trivia

Hey, I am currently hanging in Hawaii, and thought I would load up some pics...A little diversion while I remain otherwise occupied...Back on the finance front, I am reading a wonderful, Pulitzer-prize winning book, Lords of Finance, from which I have extracted many of the anecdotes posted below. It is extraordinary how close the parallels are between the 1920s and 1930s and the 1990s and 2000s. Uncanny. So many things remain strikingly the same, which is actually a worry. It also makes you wonder about the stability of the developed world, as you might have guessed from my posts intimating to the perhaps higher-than-assumed probabilities of outright conflict (particularly given the world's largest economy will soon be a non-democratic state with questionable intentions--sound familiar?). I suppose the good news is that the Great Recession has not been remotely as severe as the Great Depression, which, one might submit, limits our downside risks. Anyhow, following a wave of global bank failures in the early 1930s that central banks were not able to prevent--they learnt this lesson and were clearly more effective during the GFC--there was an extreme public backlash against these private entities that appeared to rely so heavily on state support. And the moniker that emerged at the time was "banksters", which I thought was pretty funny.