Hugh McGuire

publishing, technology, media, philosophy, a bit of politics.

Category: economics

What are Libraries For? … In the Library with the Lead Pipe

I have an article in the really great blog, In the Library with a Lead Pipe, which goes something like this: Ebooks will become the dominant form of casual reading for adults at some point in the future1. When this happens, community and public libraries will face a major existential crisis, because a fundamental (perhaps […]

Piracy vs. Availability: a Parable

A Parable of the Past An, er, friend of mine heard an interview on Fresh Air with Scottish director Armando Iannucci about his new film In the Loop (IMDB). He’d never heard of Iannucci, or the movie, or the TV show upon which the movie is based. The audio clips from the movie were so […]

One Wonders How This All Ends…

“The Big Takeover: The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution,” by Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone: In essence, Paulson and his cronies turned the federal government into one gigantic, half-opaque holding company, one whose balance sheet includes the world’s […]

Some Bonuses Are More Equal Than Others

From TPM: Earlier today, we highlighted some excerpts from a 2004 deposition given by Joseph Cassano, who was then the head of AIG’s financial products unit — the division whose massive losses on credit default swaps would later bring the company to its knees. But the story of the underlying case, as summarized at the […]

Cognitive Dissonance

March 10 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said his bank is having the best quarter since 2007, when it last posted a profit. The shares rose as much as 27 percent and helped spur gains for finance company stocks. “I am most encouraged with the strength of our business so far […]

The Jackson Hole Consensus: Central Bankers & Assets

In my post about the the stock market bubble(s) of the past 15 years, I asked what kind of policy shift happened in the 1990s to allow such a significant change in stock asset valuation. The answer comes from Niall Ferguson, in this fabulous (and scary) interview in the Globe: “Monetary policy evolved in a […]

Role Reversal

Check this little gem of a tectonic shift, found in Wired’s The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time (see page 3): The Taiwanese firms, Shih argues, now have enormous clout in the PC industry. In the US, we regard branding and marketing—convincing people what to buy—as core business functions. What Asustek […]

Value, Bubbles, S&P

Wealth ought to come from the creation of value. That is, by designing and selling a better shovel, you make it easier for farmers to dig irrigation trenches which increases their yield. With your shovel, their output goes from 100 to 200 units a year, and so you, as shovel-maker get to benefit from a […]

Common Sense and Boring Canadian Banks

As a start-up, I’ve complained about how conservative the Canadian business culture is, especially banking and finance. But boring has it’s benefits, when things get shaky. From Newsweek: In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world. America’s ranked 40th, Britain’s 44th. Canada has done more than survive this […]

Credit Default Swaps

When I worked at Prebon in 2000 (on financial/insurance products that would financing greenhouse gas reductions while hedging against the risk of greenhouse gas legislation), I remember trying to figure out the credit default swap market. At the time, it was a relatively new product, and it was where Prebon – a broker, not a […]