Prieur’s readings (December 22, 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.

• Gary Rawlins (USA Today): Year’s best business books to make sense of financial crisis, December 21, 2009.

• John Tierney (The New York Times): Trusting nature as the climate referee, December 14, 2009.
Imagine there’s no Copenhagen. Imagine a planet in which global warming was averted without the periodic need for thousands of people to fly around the world to promise to stop burning fossil fuels. Imagine no international conferences wrangling over the details of climate policy. Imagine entrusting the tough questions to a referee: Mother Earth.

• Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff (Financial Times): Lessons of a memorably chaotic global gathering, December 21, 2009.
The rich-poor divide will not be bridged as long as many developing nations frame climate finance from the north in terms of “carbon debt”.

• Tom Lauricella (The Wall Street Journal): Investors hope the ’10s beat the ’00s, December 20, 2009.
The US stock market is wrapping up what is likely to be its worst decade ever. In nearly 200 years of recorded stock-market history, no calendar decade has seen such a dismal performance as the 2000s.

• Cordell Eddings (Bloomberg): Treasury yield curve steepens to record amid growth outlook, December 21, 2009.
The Treasury yield curve, a barometer of the health of the US economy, widened to a record as investors bet an accelerating recovery will fuel inflation and hurt demand for unprecedented sales of government debt.

• William Rees-Mogg (Times Online): Heed the great stabiliser’s words on banking, December 21, 2009.
Paul Volcker, who advises Barack Obama, wants a return to Glass-Steagall rules. He is right both for Wall Street and the City.

• The Economist: The perils of the world economy’s Great Stabilisation, December 17, 2009.
The recession was less calamitous than many feared. Its aftermath will be more dangerous than many expect.

• Philip Stephens (Financial Mail): It’s too late to take the politics out of banking, December 21, 2009.
Leading the running for daft sayings by bankers this year is the latest call for governments to keep out of financial services.

• Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho (The Washington Post): Fed’s approach to regulation left banks exposed to crisis, December 21, 2009.
The central bank’s performance has sparked a great debate about its future as a regulator, pitting those who want to expand its role against those who want to strip its powers. It also has come under pressure from politicians seeking greater oversight of its primary job, adjusting interest rates to moderate economic growth. The battles have complicated Bernanke’s bid for a second term as chairman.

• Mark Thoma (CBS MarketWatch): The Fed can help, but fiscal policy is the key to job creation, December 18, 2009.
There are many people currently criticizing the Fed for worrying too much about inflation and not enough about employment. They want the Fed to use quantitative easing – the purchase of financial assets when interest rates are already at zero – as a means of stimulating the economy and creating jobs. I think it’s a mistake to focus on the Fed rather than on fiscal policy because the focus on the Fed takes the pressure off congress and the administration to do something about the poor state of the job market.

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