the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

wealth matters…

Posted by ecoshift on May 31, 2010

You think you’ve got problems? Just think how hard it is for the children of the weathy… with unemployment up how will they learn the value of a dollar? Will they never learn?

Wealth Matters
Teaching the Value of Work to Children of Wealth
Published: May 28, 2010

“As a parent who has worked his whole life and has had a little bit of success in my career, one of the huge life lessons I learned early on is the value of a dollar,” said Mr. Hayworth, whose bank is based in Coral Gables, Fla. “Particularly for children of upper-middle-class and affluent families, there’s no perspective on value. When the new Range Rover pulls into the driveway, there’s no concept of how many hours of hard work went into owning that vehicle.”

Unlike many collegebound children today, Mr. Hayworth’s daughter would have had no worries if she had not been able to find a job. She could have spent the summer by the pool knowing her parents had the money to put her through college.

But the fact that she does not have to work is exactly what worries Mr. Hayworth and many other affluent parents. The recession and tight job market have made it imperative to teach their children the value of work. They worry about that, it seems, more than about any short-term swings in their portfolios.

“This is a tremendously confusing time for families,” said Matthew E. Brady, head of wealth advisory in the Americas for Barclays Wealth. “The issue of children is the most important topic that affects our clients. It’s the topic that comes up most consistently in every conversation.”

A whole coterie of experts has sprung up in the last few years to coach the children of affluence into the working world. Gibraltar offers classes in “financial life skills” that cover topics including saving, preventing debt and how money affects friendships. J. P. Morgan Private Bank offers what it calls “Next Generation Leadership” seminars.


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Derivatives Ban?

Posted by ecoshift on May 16, 2010

Someone to keep an eye on… interesting that her success in the primary depends on her hanging tough on curtailing Wall Street excess… is financial reform the new middle ground in right / left politics?

Blanche Lincoln Finds Few Allies on Derivatives Ban –

“antipathy is directed at a proposal from Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas. She wants banks to get rid of their lucrative derivatives operations because they played an outsize role in the financial debacle. And when Wall Street needed a rescue, Mrs. Lincoln says, taxpayers should not have had to bail out bankers’ bad bets. ”

read more…

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The economist manifesto

Posted by ecoshift on April 24, 2010

A few words on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments from Amartya Sen…

New Statesman – The economist manifesto
Amartya Sen
Published 23 April 2010

“Smith was convinced of the necessity of a well-functioning market economy, but not of its sufficiency. He argued powerfully against many false diagnoses of the terrible “commissions” of the market economy, and yet nowhere did he deny that the market economy yields important “omissions”. He rejected market-excluding interventions, but not market-including interventions aimed at doing those important things that the market may leave undone.”

read the whole thing…

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The Promise of Short-Sea Shipping

Posted by ecoshift on April 21, 2010

An interesting assessment and proposal from the Siskiyou Land Conservancy. I don’t know if all the particulars hang together, but kudos for taking a shot at problem solving on a systemic level… we need more of this.

All Aboard! The Promise of Short-Sea Shipping
Posted on April 22, 2010 by siskiyouland

Siskiyou Land Conservancy Endorses Short-Sea Shipping for Humboldt Bay and the North Coast
A major local initiative — a short-sea shipping “Manhattan Project” — is needed now to ensure that Humboldt and the North Coast take advantage of this new “wave” of commerce and protect our environment.

read the whole post…

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JP Morgan on the sanctity of contracts…

Posted by ecoshift on April 12, 2010

JPMorgan Chase Argues Against Mortgage Modifications, Citing Sanctity Of Contracts
From the Huffington Post

With millions of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure during this recession, megabank JPMorgan Chase plans to argue against the Obama administration’s latest weapon in its fight to stem the problem — principal cuts for struggling borrowers — by citing the sanctity of contracts and the borrower’s “promise to repay.”

In testimony to be delivered Tuesday afternoon, David Lowman, chief executive officer for home lending at the “Too Big To Fail” behemoth, will fight back against the program which calls for lenders and investors to decrease the outstanding debt owed on a home mortgage. While his competitors at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup plan to dance around the issue — judging from their prepared remarks — Lowman cut right to it: borrowers don’t deserve it.

“Like all loans, mortgage contracts are based on a promise to repay money borrowed,” Lowman’s prepared remarks read. “Importantly, there is no provision in the mortgage contract, express or implied, that the lender will restore equity or reduce the repayment amount if the value of the collateral — be it a home, a car or a stock market investment — depreciates.

“If we re-write the mortgage contract retroactively to restore equity to any mortgage borrower because the value of his or her home declined, what responsible lender will take the equity risk of financing mortgages in the future? What responsible regulator would want lenders to take such risk?”

read more…

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New Zealand patent reform bill says no to software patents

Posted by ecoshift on April 1, 2010


New Zealand patent reform bill says no to software patents
By Ryan Paul |

New Zealand’s parliament is preparing to vote on a major patent reform bill that will tighten the country’s standards of patentability. One of the most significant changes in the proposed bill is a specific patentability exclusion for software. If the bill receives parliamentary approval in its current form, it will broadly eliminate conventional software patents in New Zealand.

The bill was drafted by the Select Commerce Committee, which decided to include the exclusion after reviewing feedback from the software industry. The bill’s official summary acknowledges that software patents are detrimental to the open source software development model and have the potential to seriously stifle innovation.

“Protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model, and its proponents oppose it. A number of submitters argued that there is no ‘inventive step’ in software development, as ‘new’ software invariably builds on existing software,” the bill summary says. “They felt that computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition, and can be granted for trivial or existing techniques. In general we accept this position.”

The Commerce Committee says that the ban on software patents will not block companies from patenting hardware inventions that encompass embedded software. It will be up to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand to craft the specific rules for determining what kind of embedded software is patentable.

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Elizabeth Warren on the bailout, the future of the economy… and more

Posted by ecoshift on March 16, 2010

Very refreshing plain English evaluation of the financial industry bailout…

And on the future of the economy…

Go Elizabeth…

Click here for the full interview…

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Beijing studies severing dollar peg

Posted by ecoshift on March 8, 2010 / China / Economy & Trade –
Beijing studies severing dollar peg
By Geoff Dyer in Beijing
Published: March 6 2010

China’s central bank chief laid the groundwork for an appreciation of the renminbi at the weekend when he described the current dollar peg as temporary, striking a more emollient tone after months of tough opposition in Beijing to a shift in exchange rate policy.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, gave the strongest hint yet from a senior official that China would abandon the unofficial dollar peg, in place since mid-2008. He said it was a “special” policy to weather the financial crisis.

“This is a part of our package of policies for dealing with the global financial crisis. Sooner or later, we will exit the policies.”

read more…

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Americas bloc / No US

Posted by ecoshift on February 23, 2010

Americas bloc excluding US and Canada is proposed
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
BBC News

Latin American and Caribbean nations have agreed to set up a new regional body without the US and Canada, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said. The new bloc would be an alternative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), the main forum for regional affairs in the past 50 years. Mexico is hosting a regional summit in the beach resort of Cancun.

The OAS has been dogged by rifts between some Latin American members and the US over economic policy and trade. It has also been criticised as promoting US interests over those of other members.

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unexpected existential remarks

Posted by ecoshift on February 17, 2010

U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion
FEBRUARY 16, 2010 | ISSUE 46•07

WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a meaningless and intangible social construct.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the world’s largest economy…

Read more…

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