Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Letters: Countrywide, economy, records

Marketplace Staff Jan 20, 2009
Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Letters: Countrywide, economy, records

Marketplace Staff Jan 20, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL: You had a lot to say this week about what I have been saying in interviews. One of those interviews was with Adam Michaelson. He used to be a marketing executive at Countrywide, the failed mortgage provider.

Some of you wrote to say I was too nice to him. Many agreed that Michaelson and his colleagues at Countrywide are to blame, at least in part, for the dire state of the economy.

But software developer Anand Kothari has a different view. He says we shouldn’t criticize corporations that encourage us to spend and take risks.

Anand Kothari: The very basis of capitalism encourages to take debt to consume and invest such that future earnnings will create ability to repay debt while enjoying high level of lifestyle. If someone must be blamed, it should be on the Fed economists and regulatory agencies that allowed and fueled growth with flawed risk models.

I had a chat with management consultant Charles Handy the other day, part of our series Taking Stock, where we take a wider perspective. We talked about the economy, and the banking system, and then about how it might be better if we all had to slow down a little bit — spend less, enjoy life more.

Kris Peckman of Roanoke, Va., couldn’t have agreed more.

KRIS PECKMAN: I think many of us are yearning for the sanity that Charles Handy is talking about. So, to fix the economy we do not need tax cuts so we can spend more on unnecessary stuff. We need to create jobs for the common good, jobs to build the green infrastructure that can help us out of the mess we have put ourselves into.

Of course, that economic mess isn’t the only thing we’ve been covering. I interviewed Steve Knopper of Rolling Stone magazine last week about music sales — the demise of compact discs and the rise — or resurgence, I should say — of another kind of record. The vinyl kind.

Here’s student and musician Brian Whitacre.

BRIAN WHITACRE: Many reasons were listed for this phenomena, namely having the media in your hands to hold and adore. However, there was one very important reason behind this resurgence that was missed: It simply sounds better!

There was one other thing I was a little shortsighted about last week. Alex Philips from Amherst, Mass., picked up on it when I made a reference to computer users — Mac guys or Windows guys, I said.

ALEX PHILLIPS: By failing to acknowledge that there are plenty of “gals” out there with serious opinions about computers, you’re perpetuating a nasty stereotype. But there is one stereotype that may just hold true. As a musician and poet, I always keep my MacBook with me, but my girlfriend, a scientist, never strays from her trusted PC.

Whether you are writing to us on your PC or on your Mac — or maybe even your Blackberry — and whether you’re a guy or a girl, we always appreciate your comments.

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