Posts Tagged 'bailout'

Business and Economy links

An excellent interview in The Atlantic with Gao Xiqing, who is managing $200 billion of China’s $2 trillion in dollar holdings: “Be Nice to the Countries That Lend You Money” Brilliant to see the difference in perspective.

People, especially Americans, started believing that they can live on other people’s money. And more and more so. First other people’s money in your own country. And then the savings rate comes down, and you start living on other people’s money from outside. At first it was the Japanese. Now the Chinese and the Middle Easterners.

We—the Chinese, the Middle Easterners, the Japanese—we can see this too. Okay, we’d love to support you guys—if it’s sustainable. But if it’s not, why should we be doing this? After we are gone, you cannot just go to the moon to get more money. So, forget it. Let’s change the way of living.

Not so serious, but there is also time for that:

After The Crisis: A Parody of 15 Corporate Logos (via).

Apply for a Federal Bailout! – here´s the form

Another day, another city

and another Blogpost, today from Lucé, France, close to Chartres.

Beobachtungen in Amerika

Diese Woche war ich für ein paar Tage geschäftlich in den USA. Über Chicago O´Hare nach Kalamazoo geflogen und von dort aus mit einem Kollegen drei Werke besucht. Gestern wieder retour und heute morgen kurz vor sieben wieder in Düsseldorf gelandet.

Im Süden von Michigan kann man die Auswirkungen der aktuellen Krise hautnah sehen: An jedem zweiten Haus steht eine Werbetafel für einen der Kandidaten bei der bevorstehenden Präsidentenwahl. Das ist ja an sich nicht bemerkenswert, wären an den anderen Häusern nicht auch Schilder zur Strasse hin. Auf denen steht allerdings weder “Obama” oder “McCain”, sondern “For Sale”. Das ist schon ziemlich bedrückend, man hat den Eindruck dass fast jeder dort von der Krise unmittelbar betroffen ist und sein Haus verkaufen muss.

Und dann hört man von den amerikanischen Kollegen täglich das Update über die aktuellen Wertverluste ihrer 401K-Pensionspläne. Da wird einem echt übel. Und die Aktionen von Regierungen und Nationalbanken verpuffen im nichts, kaum dass sie bekanntgegeben werden. Frustrierend.

Ich hatte auch das zweifelhafte Vergnügen, die Kandidatendebatte dieser Woche live bei CNN – zumindest in Auszügen (bin irgendwann eingeschlafen) – sehen zu dürfen. Danach würde ich mich sehr wundern, wenn der nächste Präsident McCain hiesse. Und damit ist alles zu diesem Thema gesagt.


Nice interview of Nassim Nicholas Taleb by Lloyd Grove (via Bruce Schneier) for

Seems that the writing on the wall was quite early to be seen:

N.N.T.: Yeah, I only do things where there’s a natural stimulation. I had no natural stimulation to sit in a meeting, so I would not sit in a meeting, and that has worked for me. I want to free up the time to think—that requires the details in my reading and my writing and thinking. Enjoyable activities. When I’m writing, if I get bored, I’ll stop immediately, mid-sentence, that’s it, I don’t write anything that bores me…You have a copy of The Black Swan? Let me show you, I think I have it here, page 225, in the footnote. Read it.

L.G: [Reads] “Likewise, the government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at their risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry, their large staff of scientists deem these events ‘unlikely.'”

N.N.T: That’s the central point. The rest is noise.

L.G.: You wrote that footnote in 2005?

N.N.T: Yes, but actually I saw their positions in 2003, when a very smart journalist, Alex Berenson of the New York Times, came to me and said, Can I show you the risk of Fannie Mae? When I saw it, I almost choked. [In Berenson’s August 2003 article, Taleb was quoted as saying Fannie Mae and other major holders of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities chronically underestimate the odds of a big move in interest rates that could decimate the value of their portfolios, over-relying on computer models that don’t account for rare but devastating events, i.e. black swans. “The fact that they have not blown up in the past doesn’t mean that they’re not going to blow up in the future. The math is bogus,” he told the Times.]

The rest of the interview is also worthwile reading.

I have the book for a while on my Amazon wishlist, but now I´m gonna order it. Finally.