Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Working time

Working time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kapauku people of Papua think it is bad luck to work two consecutive days. The !Kung Bushmen work just two-and-a-half days per week, rarely more than six hours per day. [20]

The work week in Samoa is approximately 30 hours[21], and though average annual Samoan cash income is relatively low, by some measures, the Samoan standard of living and quality of life are quite goo"

The NPA (Non-Prosecution Agreements) Scandal

If you were shocked to read WST's report that AIG practices were being directly monitored by a prosecutor-appointed rep as it was sinking, then you heard nothin' yet. California Lawyer Magazine exposes the yet-more-shocking procedural detail of what seems to be a wholesale practice.

We at KYI do not cry foul, but we do point to the dangers of value investing in a reality of continued lack of transparency at the highest levels. Systemic support for concealing practices (while and after the crash of a company) means the end of value investing - such companies can only be considered as "black boxes" and if you insist on investing in black boxes I don't see how anything but technical analysis could mean anything at all.

"[WSJ's AIG story on AIG being monitored while it was going downhill] opened a window on a little-known practice of the Bush administration's DOJ following the 2002 indictment of Arthur Andersen [Enron]—and its subsequent collapse. Indicting the corporate entity had led to the loss of some 85,000 jobs worldwide, and it sent shock waves through corporate America. So between 2002 and 2009 federal prosecutors stepped back, reaching 103 agreements to defer or forgo prosecuting corporations, compared to just 11 such agreements from 1992 to 2001.

The DOJ describes the agreements as a middle ground between declining to prosecute and formally charging a corporation. DPAs usually are accompanied by a charging document that is withdrawn after a period of probation. Non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) are private contracts not filed with a court.

Corporate monitors, according to the DOJ, were enlisted in 40 percent of the more recent pretrial agreements. Often former prosecutors or judges, they are selected by the government, paid by the company, and report to both as an independent third party. According to Lawrence D. Finder, a partner in Houston's Haynes and Boone and a former federal prosecutor, their role is anomalous: 'There is no client, so there's no fiduciary duty and no attorney-client privilege,' he says."

Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself

Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself

They're losing it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bloomberg News

The complete show

If you're going to watch one hour of TV about the economy this month, this should be it.

Nouriel Roubini (born on March 29, 1959) is a professor of economics at the Stern School of Business, New York University and chairman of RGE Monitor, an economic consultancy firm. After receiving his B.A. in Political Economics from Bocconi University and his doctorate in international economics from Harvard University, he began academic research and policy-making by teaching at Yale while also spending time at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Federal Reserve, World Bank and Bank of Israel. Much of his early studies were focused on emerging-market countries. During President Bill Clinton’s administration he was a senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers later moving to the United States Treasury Department as a senior adviser to Timothy Geithner who is now Treasury Secretary.

Fortune magazine, in 2008, wrote that "in 2005 Roubini said home prices were riding a speculative wave that would soon sink the economy. Back then the professor was called a Cassandra. Now he's a sage."

In September, 2006, he warned to a skeptical IMF that "the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession." He also foresaw "homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt." The New York Times labeled him "Dr. Doom." In hindsight, IMF economist Prakash Loungani has called him "a prophet."

Because his descriptions of the current economic crisis have proven to be accurate, he is today a major figure in the U.S. and international debate about the economy and spends much of his time shuttling between meetings with central bank governors and finance ministers in Europe and Asia."[2]. Although he is ranked only 410th in terms of lifetime academic citations, Prospect Magazine in January, 2009, voted him #2 on its "list of the world’s 100 greatest living public intellectuals." He has recently appeared before Congress, the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum at Davos. He was recently named "Bocconiano dell'Anno", the most important Alumni award of Bocconi University.

Nouriel Roubini was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 29, 1959. The child of Iranian Jewish parents, his family moved to Tehran, Iran, when he was two. He later lived in Israel and Italy to attend college and moved to the United States to pursue his business doctorate in international economics at Harvard University. He is currently a U.S. citizen and speaks English, Farsi, Italian, and Hebrew.

Roubini spent one year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before moving to Italy and receiving his B.A., summa cum laude, in Economics from the Bocconi University (Milan) in 1982. He received his Ph.D. in international economics from Harvard University in 1988. According to his academic advisor, Jeffrey Sachs, he was unusual in his talent with both mathematics and intuitive understanding of economic institutions.

For much of the 1990s, Roubini combined academic research and policy-making by teaching at Yale and then in New York, while also spending time at the International Monetary Fund, the Federal Reserve, World Bank and Bank of Israel. Currently, he is a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

He spent much of his time working on emerging-market blowouts in Asia and Latin America which helped him spot the looming disaster in the U.S. "I’ve been studying emerging markets for 20 years, and saw the same signs in the U.S. that I saw in them, which was that we were in a massive credit bubble," he said.

By 1998 he had attracted the attention of President Bill Clinton’s administration, joining it first as a senior economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers and then moving to the Treasury department as a senior adviser to Timothy Geithner, then the undersecretary for international affairs and now Treasury secretary in the Obama administration.

Roubini returned to the IMF in 2001 as a visiting scholar while it battled a financial meltdown in Argentina. He co-wrote a book on saving bankrupt economies entitled Bailouts or Bail-ins? and opened his own consulting firm.