Category Archives: Government

A Clutch of Random Goodies- finance, net neutrality, deficit…

Here is just a clutch of good randomness that has been accumulating on my desktop…

PS featured image is Simon Johnson.

Bucknell and Truth

Bucknell gets unexpected reward for being honest about a mistake.  Is this worthy of an ethical snap?

Net Neutrality?

What the hell is net neutrality?  Baratunde Thurston  one of our tech/no speakers, explains it so well, it got picked up by Raw Story.   I love how Bucknell can be a producer of information and wisdom and not just a user. 

Organization Theory is Cool

A book review about organization theory I really need to read.  Orgtheory.net is the one blog I wish I read more.

Learn from Nice Rich People

Lessons for failure and management from philanthropists.

We are drowning in deficit! (are we?)

Compare your answers to the US public and, um, the reality.

Change Doesn’t Happen.  Until it Does.

From AFL-CO vs Home Depot, through Frank-Dodd, to Citigroup.  Is corporate governance and executive compensation changing?  Maybe.  Read abotu some pretty big changes at the link.

Is a Tax Better than Regulations?

You want policy ideas?  You like finance? You dislike “regulation” that tries to dictate firm behavior?  Try this one.  Instead of trying to tell financial firms what they can or can’t do, how much capital to have on the books, and so on, how about you tax a vice- like we do with alcohol and tobacco- and simply tax financial transactions to make trading for the sake of microscopic gains on immaterial price shifts non-economic?  Read. here about Europe’s experiment with a different, and I would argue,  less intrusive form of regulation to change financial markets and firms.

You want even more financial regulation news?

You are really, really troubled.  I hope Vinny, Loukas, Mike, and… (who else are finance jocks?) are reading this. Simon Johnson.  yes, THAT Simon Johnson, had this blog post about the 12 “angry bankers” of the Fed and their ideas to push for transparency in money market fund valuations as part of the (yes, that same one) Frank Dodd bill reforms that created the systemic risk council.  In a nutshell, the financial industry does NOT WANT such valuation while the regulators do.

I am never surprised when practicing “capitalists” fight against actual free markets (with liquidity and transparency).  Businesspeople are often, perhaps usually anti-capitalist if you define capitalism not as maximum wealth accumulation, but as free markets that expand the prosperity of a society.  Am I alone in seeing this?

Related articles

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Government, innovation, macroeconomics, management, organization theory, policy, Political Economy, Politics, Power, Activism, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe]

What is wrong here

X-posted at my class blog.

“Retention bonuses” would seem to be bonuses by any other name.  Obviously, public and political scrutiny is at super high levels as we reel from the financial crisis.

This little nugget caught my eye about a joint venture between Citigroup and Morgan Stanley:

According to the newspaper [The WSJ], not all of the joint venture’s 20,000 brokers would get retention payments. It said a broker who brought in $1 million in revenue last year might expect to get $500,000 to $1 million, depending on how much he continues to produce.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Banking, corporate governance, corruption, economics, Government, Political Economy

Useful Graphic of Stimulus Bill

This is a useful graphic of the elements of the stimulus bill.

To see better, make your view larger by hitting ctrl + in Firefox.  Or, click on link above.

Leave a comment

Filed under Government, policy, Politics, Power, Activism

$819 Billion to show us that transparency is not enough — Authentic Organizations

$819 Billion to show us that transparency is not enough — Authentic Organizations
Rachel asserts that “accounting is really an exercise about setting our priorities and ensuring that we are acting on and accounting for those priorities. ” Thus, Rachel recommends that organizations be more transparent about their accounting (and distribution of resources), so that they can make their organizational values “crystal clear”.

Yes, I thought. The more data, the better we can see where an organization is focusing its resources. Then, we can draw conclusions about whether the organization is doing what it says it values.

Thanks CV.  Need to read this more carefully and x-post to Org theory blog for class.

1 Comment

Filed under economics, Government

Town-Gown Project for Planned Development

This piece from the NYT caught my eye.  Lewisburg is similar in some ways, although bigger.  Kelly township is already up and running as sprawl-driven growth.  The whole county, Union, is involved in a planning process, called cultivating community.  There are some draft plans on the website.  How effectively can it redirect te built in infrastructure and private development?

The great quote here is the professor: “a synthesis of academics and civics.”

Maybe Bucknell has faculty or classes who could engage in similar research? Does the county need or want such help?

Vermont Town Turns to College in Bid to Guide Change – NYTimes.com
Starksboro asked students from nearby Middlebury College to spend the semester interviewing its residents to document what they value most about the place. It intends to use their thoughts to influence decisions about its future.

In particular, officials here are counting on the project to help steer a revision of the town plan next year, a process that often leads to zoning-change proposals that incite bitter debate.

“The key is to project beyond immediate controversies over applications for subdivisions and to say, ‘Let’s envision the future that we would love to have,’ ” said Prof. John Elder of Middlebury, “at which point there is considerable agreement.”

The students are in a class called Portrait of a Vermont Town, which Professor Elder, who teaches it, described as a rare synthesis of academics and civics.

3 Comments

Filed under Bucknell, Government, pedagogy

The Reckoning – Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt, and Risk – Series – NYTimes.com

The Reckoning – Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt, and Risk – Series – NYTimes.com
In loosening the capital rules, which are supposed to provide a buffer in turbulent times, the agency also decided to rely on the firms’ own computer models for determining the riskiness of investments, essentially outsourcing the job of monitoring risk to the banks themselves.

I am glad the NYT is talking about this.  Why did the SEC rely on the banks’ models?  Ideological blindness or simply the complacency of being amongst familiar faces?  Or perhaps simply ignorance in the face of complexity leading decision-makers to rely on proxies of sound choice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banking, Business, Government, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies)

Lessig talk on ‘hybrid economy’ March 27 || Bucknell University

I am encouraging all of my former Capstone (“Rise of the Network Society”) students to attend this one.   Lessig is an important voice discussing the pratcical and poitical implications of the overalps between technology, culture, law, and also politics.

As the press release states, Professor Eric Faden, who is bringing Lessig, is a client due to his creation of A Fair(y) Use Tale which explore issues of copyright protection.

Looks good!  Hope you can make it!

News: Lessig talk on ‘hybrid economy’ March 27 || Bucknell University
Lawrence Lessig, the renowned copyright and intellectual property rights author and Stanford Law School professor, will present a talk titled, “Remix — Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy,” on Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in Bucknell University’s Trout Auditorium.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Leave a comment

Filed under Creativity, digital culture, economic sociology, Government, policy, Political Economy, Scholars, technology

Irrational versus Rational Financial Panics

There is  a big difference between a crisis of liquiditya nd solvency, as Pual Krugman popintso ut in today’s NY Times.  Liquidity is a problem of access to cash in a defined time frame.  Solvency is a problem of not having value (assets).  The problem with the current housing blues (sub prime weakness et al) is one of solvency, not liquidity.   The big financial institutions simply made a lot of bad loans.  Until those are uncovered and dealt with, fundamental confidence will not return.  hence, investors, worried that market signals about which loans and institutions are high irsk are not clear at all, are quite rationally paniced.  This is quite different from the “irrational” bubbles I discussed with my students like the 17th century tulip bubble or the 1990s dot-con bubble.  In those cases, values were bid up over hard to specify assets because decision makers paid attention to relevant others.

When will things be better?   Can the Fed and Treasury make things right? Here is what Krugman prognosticates:

After the Money’s Gone – New York Times
Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banking, Government, macroeconomics, Political Economy

Social Network Analysis and Thought Crime

SOCNET, the list serv of INSNA, sent me this blog post about how the tools of SNA could be used as a tool of the state and therefore of oppression.

United States of Consciousness: Social Network Analysis and Thought Crime

I am sympathetic to abuses of power of the state.  And I can imagine the kinds of uses of SNA that raise troubling questions.  The whole discourse around terror suspects is, well suspect.  “Is a known associate of Mr. Evil.”  What does it mean to be a known associate?  What if I am two degrees away from a terrorist?  Or what if he is my brother and all the airtime recorded on the phone is me trying to talk him out of his ways.  The author recommends disconnecting from the system.

In other words state control will be absolute. Thought crime will be predicted and corrected without the subject even knowing about it. If you are an activist or campaigner working against the state and the corporations that support it then you need to consider getting yourself off the records as much as possible – although, due to the insidious power of social network analysis you will never be entirely out of their gaze.

Two issues: first, this is relational analysis, not social network analysis per se.  This is not a big argument for m.  But it does suggest the next.  Secondly, and more importantly, the fundamental complexity of the social interactions the author imagines being able to be targeted in such a focused way is very high.  This complexity may mitigate against the kind of dystopia author imagines.  Even if I am right about the fundamental complexity, it doesn’t mean emboldened state agencies won’t try to exert total subtle control over dissent using the tools of SNA.

2 Comments

Filed under Government, Information and Communication Technology, Social Networks, Terrorism