"If money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down" - George W. Bush warned in September 2008

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Really great links - Bernanke's toxic waste - China - Greece

Nick Rowe - Bernanke - "In my old post, I said that Ben Bernanke was betting on the economic recovery, using the Fed's own assets, by buying toxic waste. If there is no recovery, he loses the bet, the toxic assets become worthless, and the increase in the monetary base becomes permanent, because the Fed can't afford to retire the extra money. If there is a recovery, he wins the bet, the toxic assets are worth at least what he paid for them, and the increase in the monetary base can be temporary, because the Fed can afford to retire the extra money. That's the demand curve of recovery."

Scott Sumner - Is China a free market success - "So to summarize, to the extent that China is a free market, it is an economic success, and to the extent it is statist, it is mostly a failure (excluding some sectors like transport.) But the question “Is the Chinese miracle due to a free market economy?” is nonsensical. It isn’t a miracle at all; it is a country rapidly transitioning from being extremely poor to having a so-so economy. That is all."

Felix Salmon - Consensus on Greece - "There was quite a lot of consensus on the panel, and not in a good way: everybody agreed that the bailout of Greece was only postponing the inevitable, and many people reckoned that it wasn’t going to postpone it very long: one pair of hedge fund managers in the audience reckoned that it would last about six months before the default finally happens.
        The form of the default, too, seemed pretty clear: an act of parliament in Greece would do most of the work, given that most Greek debt is issued under Greek law. It will be a par exchange — the new bonds will have the same face value as the old bonds, but with lower coupons and extended maturities — so that with a bit of accounting fudgery, no banks would need to mark their Greek debt to market and take a huge loss. And Greece, in a fiscal bind, will probably at some point start issuing its own scrip alongside the formal national currency of the euro, much as California did in 2009."

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