Good morning. Hope you had an enjoyable weekend. Here are a few things to get the (last week of the year!) started:
The big zero decade (Krugman/New York Times):
So here’s what Mr. Summers — and, to be fair, just about everyone in a policy-making position at the time — believed in 1999: America has honest corporate accounting; this lets investors make good decisions, and also forces management to behave responsibly; and the result is a stable, well-functioning financial system.
What percentage of all this turned out to be true? Zero.
The decade in technology (Times of London)
The past decade in technology is the story of how three companies shaped our online and offline lives. It is the tale of the fall of Microsoft, the rebirth of Apple and the rise of Google. Their competing fortunes and philosophies also point to what the next ten years might have in store.
… if 2009 has proved anything, it’s that the bailout of Wall Street didn’t trickle down to Main Street. Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. Small businesses can’t get credit. And people everywhere, it seems, are worried about losing their jobs. Wall Street is the only place where money is flowing and pay is escalating.
The two-paycheck effect (Marketwatch):
This diversification allows for greater certainty that some income will be available in an economic downturn and lowers the volatility of actual income for these households. This, in turn, lowers the need for a sizable “rainy day” fund; a lowered saved rate, in turn, would be a reasonable economic response.
In fact, every time you doubt that something really existed, YouTube is there to tell you, “Yes, this existed. It really happened.” YouTube is a sports stadium’s JumboTron rendered in miniature. From the comfort of our home or office, we feel like we’re all thinking about and tuning into the same things, and that’s strangely reassuring.
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