April 1, 2013

Monday morning reads

Mondays after a long weekend are tough...

Morning reads:

1. David Stockman on sundown in America
The Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes reached record highs on Thursday, having completely erased the losses since the stock market’s last peak, in 2007. But instead of cheering, we should be very afraid.

2. Pay for boards at banks soars amid cutbacks
Wall Street pay, while lucrative, isn’t what it used to be — unless you are a board member.
Since the financial crisis, compensation for the directors of the nation’s biggest banks has continued to rise even as the banks themselves, facing difficult markets and regulatory pressures, are reining in bonuses and pay.

3. Is bitcoin money?
One of the more interesting developments of the modern electronic age of money has been the rise of Bitcoin, a decentralized digital form of money.  If you’re not familiar with it or you’re confused by what Bitcoin is, you’re not alone.  It’s a fairly new, innovative and complex form of money.  And that’s right, Bitcoin is definitely money.

4. Why the Euro is doomed in 4 steps
We're going to need a bigger acronym.

In the beginning, it was just the "Greek debt crisis". Then markets realized Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain were in bad shape too, and the PIIGS (or GIIPS) were born. But now Cyprus and Slovenia have run into trouble as well, giving us the ... SIC(K) PIGS? At this rate, we're going to have to buy a vowel soon, assuming Estonia doesn't end up needing a bailout.

5. Commodities boom a good thing?
The commodities boom has been a burning issue ever since China first made its entrance on the international trade scene. To start with, the boom was regarded as an enthralling phenomenon, but it soon began to be viewed as a much scarier development as prices rocketed.

Truth to tell, the voracious appetite China showed for consuming commodities was mind-boggling. In 2000, China consumed a mere 12 per cent of all industrial metals, but that had jumped to over 40 per cent by 2011. Initially, China exploited its own natural resources, but demand grew at such a dizzying rate that governments of some emerging nations with plentiful supplies of commodities began to court Beijing, inviting the country in to exploit their own lands.