FM newswire for March 9, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, collected from around the Internet. If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. The Cars of the Future“, Department of Energy, 3 March 2010 — Informative, but does not say when we get flying cars.
  2. Today’s astonishing data:  “Age, wage, and productivity“, Jan van Ours, VOX, 5 March 2010 — Note the charts about old people’s physical performance!
  3. Lies, Damned Lies, and Chinese Statistics“, Huang Yiping (Prof Economics at Peking U),China Stakes, 7 March 2010
  4. IPCC reviewers pointed out wildfire mistake, ignored by authors“, ClimateQuotes, 8 March 2010
  5. Fiction of Marja as City Was U.S. Information War“, Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, 8 March 2010 — Josua Foust called this correctly at the start; see “Mythbusting Marjeh“, 10 February.
  6. The end game for the housing bubble, after 3 years of feckless government action:  “Strategic defaults on homes on the rise“, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 March 2010 — AKA walk-aways and (for banks) jingle mail.
  7. Inevitable result of out-migration:  “Detroit Wants To Save Itself – By Shrinking“, Huffington Post, 8 March 2010 — I forecast this in late 2008 (here, here, here); commenters went berserk.

Quote of the Day

Palin and the Right are not the only one’s yearning to follow a Leader:  “Wanted: an eco prophet“, Peter Preston (journalist), op-ed in The Guardian, 7 March 2010 — “People are drifting into a lethal slumber on climate change. More of the same won’t wake them up”

Democracies move in particular ways. Voters have to clamber on board when sacrifices are required. They have to see the need for pain, to sense the danger of doing nothing. They have to lead their leaders as well as follow – once they switch off, nothing good happens easily, if at all.

… And the plain fact is that we surely need a prophet, not yet another committee. We need one passionate, persuasive scientist who can connect and convince – not because he preaches apocalypse in gory detail, but in simple, overwhelming terms. We need to be taught to believe by a true believer in a world where belief is the fatal, missing ingredient.

Today’s feature report

The type of research conservatives need to read — but most will not (preferring lies and propaganda) —  “Lessons Learned? Comparing the Federal Reserve’s Responses to the Crises of 1929-1933 and 2007-2009“, David C. Wheelock, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, March/April 2010 — Summary:

The financial crisis of 2007-09 is widely viewed as the worst financial disruption since the Great Depression of 1929-33. However, the accompanying economic recession was mild compared with the Great Depression, though severe by postwar standards. Aggressive monetary, fiscal, and financial policies are widely credited with limiting the impact of the recent financial crisis on the broader economy. This article compares the Federal Reserve’s responses to the financial crises of 1929-33 and 2007-09, focusing on the effects of the Fed’s actions on the composition and size of the Fed balance sheet, the monetary base, and broader monetary aggregates. The Great Depression experience showed that central banks should respond aggressively to financial crises to prevent a collapse of the money stock and price level. The modern Fed appears to have learned this lesson; however, some critics argue that, in focusing on the allocation of credit, the Fed was too slow to increase the monetary base. The Fed’s response to the financial crisis has raised new questions about the appropriate role of a lender of last resort and the long-run implications of actions that limit financial losses for individual firms and markets.

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