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Monday
Jan062014

The Fed and QE - (Dis)united we stand

I have put up a post over at Variant Perception's blog about how Fed members clearly do not agree on the effectiveness and merit of QE. 

A nice series of articles from Bloomberg news alerts us to the fact that the Fed is anything but united when it comes to QE. There is consequently ongoing confusion, disagreement and general apprehension surrounding whether and how the Fed is supposed to end QE . Quite simply; the powers that be do not see eye to eye on this one and this is slightly worrying (if completely understandable).

I think such debate is crucial within central banks, but the Fed should be careful. If QE is debunked too strongly as a policy tool and the next recession comes at a time when interest rates are still zero and the US economy faces the same structural challenges, what will the Fed do? 

Wednesday
Dec252013

In praise of online wordsmiths 

I am generous when it comes to highlighting interesting ideas and theories on how the world works. After all that is the only way that we can make any progress in this world. My blogroll is big in that respect. However, I am picky when it comes to good writing. Only the best make it on my list. One of the absolute best out there, The Epicurean Dealmaker, has just released his greatest hits for 2013

This is the seventh year I have maintained this site, with greater or lesser diligence as the spirit moves me and non-blogging obligations allow. Seven years is a long time in any relationship, as marital psychologists and Tom Ewell alike can tell us. We will see in the coming year whether you and I can sustain our little pixellary romance, or whether like all good things this relationship must come to an end. I make no promises other than to be myself.

But do not think of that now. Look back on 2013 and revisit the year’s greatest hits, as determined by you. Enjoy.

I am sure the EPD will keep going to complete its eighth year of punditry. If you haven't jumped the bandwagon you should do so immediately. 

Other notable mention obviously goes to Team Macro Man and Cass where the level of linguistic wit, observation and syntax continue to keep the bar very high indeed for the rest of us. 

Wednesday
Dec252013

Main Street under pressure ...

We can always debate whether home ownership is a birth right in the US or indeed in any modern economy. I suppose most would agree that it should be a realistic opportunity. So incidentally should having a job, supporting your family etc. None of this can be be guaranteed, but it should be within realistic reach for those who work hard. 

What does the chart below tell us about the prospects of Main Street in the US since the crisis and throughout what now seems to be commonly known as the "recovery". 

 (click picture for better viewing)

Source: St Louis Fred

I should note here that I am not a perma bear. In fact, I see the contours of technological advances in the next decade that could greatly transform our societies for the better (e.g revolution of payment systems, 3D printing/manufacturing and robotisation). I am just starting to wonder whether the supposed middle class (you know, those people who sell their labour for a living) will reap any of the rewards of this and what happens when/if they discover that the game is rigged specifically to their disadvantage. 

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