Prieur’s readings (December 20, 2009)

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This post provides links to a number of interesting articles I have read over the past few days that you may also enjoy.

• Floyd Norris (The New York Times): These days, countries in misery have lots of company, December 18, 2009.
Sometimes economies can be too good. That is one lesson from the history of a new “misery index”.

• Lionel Barber (Financial Times): World counts true cost of the rescue, December 14, 2009.
In the end, the system was saved but only through overwhelming government intervention at massive cost to the public purse. In 2009, those costs became clearer. In 2010, governments will have to turn to repairing the public finances. In the end, the system was saved but only through overwhelming government intervention at massive cost to the public purse. In 2009, those costs became clearer. In 2010, governments will have to turn to repairing the public finances.

• Kopin Tan (Barron’s): Buckle up for 2010, December 21, 2009.
A dozen market strategists offer their predictions of what 2010 will bring for investors – and advice on how to profit.

• David Ranson (Real Clear Markets): The economy is growing faster than you think, December 18, 2009.
US output has already been on the rise since the spring, in the face of sagging employment. Increases in productivity are offsetting diminishing man-hours of input. Conclusive signs of a turning point have yet to shake most commentators out of their gloom, and the vigor of the recovery continues to be questioned. All too typically, it’s input (i.e. employment) rather than output that receives attention from politicians or ink from journalists.

• Aline van Duyn (Financial Times): The Fifth Avenue Index, December 18, 2009.
The behaviour of American shoppers is vital to the future economic growth picture. The US consumer accounts for about 70 per cent of US gross domestic product. It matters to the rest of the world too – US consumers spend more than people in any other country.

• Derek Thompson (The Atlantic): Three ways to look at our deficit crisis, December 17, 2009.
On the issue of the debt, the general attitude between Bush supporters and Obama supporters has always been: The other guy did it. Republicans blame the stimulus and ongoing bailouts. Democrats blame the tax cuts and the wars. This week the admittedly progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities weighs in to argue that President Obama didn’t create our deficit crisis, but rather inherited it from Bush. Truly I think their conclusion is incontrovertible. And yet … I have my objections.

• Alan Abelson (Barron’s): More than an uptick? December 21, 2009.
Is the dollar due for a six-month rebound?

• Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularick (Harvard – Working Knowledge): The end of Chimerica, December 16, 2009.
For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a unique geoeconomic constellation that the authors call “Chimerica”: a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with U.S. overconsumption on the basis of a financial marriage between the world’s sole superpower and its most likely future rival. In this paper, economic historians Niall Ferguson of Harvard Business School and Moritz Schularick of Freie Universität Berlin consider the problem of global imbalances and try to set events in a longer-term perspective.

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