The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

Thu Apr 10, 2008 by brett

Here is a great talk by Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren on the upcoming collapse of the middle class. The first 5 minutes are spent on introducing Professor Warren, so I recommend skipping to roughly 5-6 minutes into the video. She gives a very, very interesting comparison of the changing socio-economic factors between 1970-2007. The talk was given on the 8th March, 2007 at Berkeley.

The Olympic Flame

Mon Apr 7, 2008 by brett

So, on Sunday I was lying on the couch reading when I heard this commotion from Oxford Street. I jumped up and went out onto the balcony - just in time to see the Olympic Flame go past! It was driven past on an open top bus, held upright by this girl in a track-suit.

Where to Live

Mon Feb 11, 2008 by brett

I live in London, on Oxford Street. You can’t really live in a more urban environment than that. Last weekend Helen and I got out of London to the North Downs to go hiking. For me, this is the ideal lifestyle; live in the city in an exciting, stimulating environment. When you feel like “getting back to nature” - pick the environment you want, and go there for the weekend. The countryside is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!

Geek Logik

Mon Feb 11, 2008 by brett

Garth Sundem of Geek Logik fame has a blog in which he comes up with formulas for wrapping every-day decisions in a mathematical framework. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while - especially with regards to procrastination. The trick is to quantify all the factors that you think are important in the issue you are considering, and then describe the relationship between the variables mathematically.

Great Quote

Fri Feb 8, 2008 by brett

I read the following quote at “The price of everything” blog:

“You couldn’t get a clue during the clue mating season in a field full of horny clues if you smeared your body with clue musk and did the clue mating dance.” – Edward Flaherty.

I can’t wait to find someone to insult.

Evidence of the Impending Singularity?

Tue Jan 29, 2008 by brett

While reading this article in The Economist, the section on rising inequality leapt out at me. The newspaper suggested that technology may be to blame. This is certainly a situation that I’ve been expecting for a while.

In contrast to the Singularity proposed by Vernor Vinge, I believe that as people become more educated, have better tools, and live longer, it will be harder and harder for young, less well educated, and poorer people to compete. This will stratify society.

More Financial Blogs

Mon Jan 28, 2008 by brett

Here are some more financial blogs that seem good:

Global Apartheid

Fri Jan 25, 2008 by brett

There’s a great interview in Reason Magazine with economist Lant Pritchett about how stopping immigration is effectively holding countries’ citizens hostage. He argues that constraining people within artificial borders bounding countries which are economically unviable is one of the biggest sources of global inequity. Very interesting read.

Financial Turmoil

Fri Jan 25, 2008 by brett

This past week has been facinating in the financial markets. After a long slide downwards, the markets tumbled at the beginning of the week, and now they are bouncing back upwards.

Initially the market dive looked like it was triggered by worries over the problems with the Monoline Insurers.

The Fed responded by cutting interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday. This seemed to have little effect with various indices falling even further. It did however seem to have a dramatic effect on the probability that the US will go into recession.

On Thursday we found out that Societe Generale lost $7 Bln from trader fraud (leading the market wags to dub it “Shock Gen”. This seemed to have little negative impact on the markets with the indices all shooting upwards. They are all up today, albeit not as much as yesterday. It looks like the momentum is leaving the bounce.

So could the massive falls be attributed to Soc Gen selling out of their positions and realizing their losses? Can some of the market euphoria be attributed to proposed monoline bail-out?

I guess we’ll see how next week develops!

Financial Blogs

Fri Jan 25, 2008 by brett

Here are some financial blogs I like:

I’m getting more and more information from blogs and forums these days, so I want to try and get as many diverse and informative sources as I can.