Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Originally one of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University, Sachs became renowned for implementing economic shock therapy throughout the developing world, and subsequently for his work on the challenges of economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, debt cancellation, and globalization. He has authored numerous books and articles on these subjects, including The End of Poverty and Common Wealth both New York Times bestsellers. He has been named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" several times.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Short of opening a Radio Shack in an Amish town, Dubai is the world’s worst business idea, and there isn’t even any oil. Imagine proposing to build Vegas in a place where sex and drugs and rock and roll are an anathema. This is effectively the proposition that created Dubai - it was a stupid idea before the crash, and now it is dangerous.
Dubai threatens to become an instant ruin, an emblematic hybrid of the worst of both the West and the Middle-East and a dangerous totem for those who would mistakenly interpret this as the de facto product of a secular driven culture.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
While car purchases plummeted and designer clothes mostly stayed on the racks, sales of condoms in the U.S. rose 5% in the fourth quarter of 2008, and 6% in January vs. the same time periods the previous year, The Nielsen Co. reports.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Listening to the bankers before congress yesterday was both impressive and instructive. You realize these are very smart, well paid guy, doing a job. Much smarter than say, the auto executives who came before. Also much, much smarter than most of the Congress members they were be lectured from. Maxine Waters vs. Jamie Dimond or Lloyd C. Blankfein...Come on.
It’s also a reminder that these bankers are, in a way, victims of our celebrity culture. During the boom years we couldn't get enough of their jets, their parties their wives. Steve Schwartzman and Henry Kravis were celebrated in glossy magazines. The pages of Vanity Fair and Portfolio were filled with business porn. We built them up as Masters of the Universe. Now that things have turned, we can’t wait to tear them down; just as we do with celebrities we build up. The problem is, no one is hurt by the public turning on Brittany or Jessica, turning on our smartest, if often greedy, bankers with populist rhetoric trumping good judgment could hurt us all.
The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something, - President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 22, 1932
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Canada has done more than survive this financial crisis. The country is positively thriving in it. Canadian banks are well capitalized and poised to take advantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. The Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, was the 15th-largest bank in North America one year ago. Now it is the fifth-largest. It hasn't grown in size; the others have all shrunk.
Architecture is much more visible today than a generation ago. Celebrity architects have lead to buildings that get a lot more public attention. But is this good or bad? Is architecture about bling and ornamentation and the wow effect, or is about appreciating design and space and respecting human scale.
One of our best practitioners of this "human" architecture is Deborah Berke. She is among the best American architects practicing today. She has been in practice in New York since 1982 and is a professor of architecture at Yale.
My conversation with Deborah Berke about her work and the state of modern architecture.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Robert G. Kaiser, an experienced reporter and former managing editor of The Washington Post, has written a fascinating book that explains why earmarks have become more common since the 1970s and raises the curtain on Washington to reveal a tragic drama in which money triumphs over principle. Here, in a single book, is the reason why our politics must be transformed.
My conversation with Robert Kaiser, author of So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government
Sunday, February 8, 2009
If this doesn't focus the mind on the need for a large stimulus package, I don't know what will. Krugman says that 800 Billion is not enough. It's beginning to look like he may be right.
According to the CBO’s estimates, we’re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger.
1) January's 0.44% drop in nonfarm payroll employment was the worst one-month drop since May 1980, when employment fell 0.47%. (There was also a 0.44% drop in November 2008, but that was rounded up from 0.438% while January's was rounded down from 0.442%.)
2) The three-month fall in employment of 1.30% was the worst since the 1.71% drop from Dec. 1974 to Feb. 1975.
3) The six-month fall in employment of 1.93% was the worst since the 2.09% drop from Dec. 1974 to April 1975.
4) The nine-month fall in employment of 2.23% was the worst since the 2.36% drop from Oct. 1974 to July 1975.
5) The twelve-month fall in employment of 2.53% was the worst since the 2.62% drop in the 12 months ending in November 1982
The lesson here: Maybe I should stop wasting my time playing with spreadsheets. As measured by the percentage drop in payroll employment over most of the time periods I looked at, this is the worst since 1974-1975. And barring a dramatic recovery in the next couple of months, the total job losses from this recession will likely come out even worse than those of 1974-1975.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Perhaps no one is doing this better than the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP.) Jay Mathews, long time education reporter for THE WASHINGTON POST, delves into the program and its two visionary founders both of whom believe that with proper mentors, student incentives and unrestrained enthusiasm on the part of the teachers, some of the country's poorest children could surpass the expectations of most inner-city public schools.
My conversation with Jay Matthews about his book Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Periods of gloom interrupted by moments of sheer disaster.
Right now in Afghanistan and Iraq there are over 12,000 unmanned systems. The number of flying drones continues to grow. Six year ago there were none! The technology now exists to make human soldiers and pilots obsolete. So what will the future of war look like?
P.W. Singer is one of the world's leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare. Singer's predictions, in his new book, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century are unnerving, from the moral implications of creating robots that can "think," to a world where wars, like jobs, can be outsourced to machines. Will the traditional psychological barriers to killing fall away, or will human lives be saved by our high tech gadgets?
My conversation with P.W. Singer:
Monday, February 2, 2009
My conversation with Jibari Asim: