Berfrois

Information Over Muskets

Information Over Muskets

Kim Jong-un, Vasily Galaktionov, 2013 by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman The changing dictatorships Dictatorships are not what they used to be. The totalitarian tyrants of the past – such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot – employed terror, indoctrination, and isolation to monopolise power. Although less ideological, many 20th-century military regimes also relied on mass…

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Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

As coined by Ronald McKinnon (1973), the term “financial repression” describes various policies that allow governments to “capture” and “under-pay” domestic savers. Such policies include forced lending to governments by pension funds and other domestic financial institutions, interest-rate caps, capital controls, and many more.

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CAPITALISM

CAPITALISM

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal Introduction The following two works were produced by visual artist Jonas Staal and writer Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei during a visit as artists in residence at The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa during the summer of 2010. Both works...

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Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

by Carl Wennerlind When the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza received word of a successful transmutation of lead into gold in December of 1666, he quickly sought to quell his skepticism by personally visiting the adept, and the visit left him fully convinced of the veracity of the adept’s account....

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Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

The Theatre, LSE, c.1930. Photograph from LSE Library Collection From The Times Literary Supplement: In London, Robbins had experienced Keynes’s less attractive side. They had both been appointed to the Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry, which was intended to find answers to the severe economic downturn then under...

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Michael Schiltz: Yen Blocism

Michael Schiltz: Yen Blocism

We are living through ominous times. In the wake of the 2008 subprime crisis, the world economy has been battered by a series of profound shocks that have not been experienced since the 1930s.

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Flawedonomics

Flawedonomics

From Freakonomics, Cold Fusion, 2010 From American Scientist: The nonfiction publishing phenomenon known as Freakonomics has passed its sixth anniversary. The original book, which used ideas from statistics and economics to explore real-world problems, was an instant bestseller. By 2011, it had sold more than four million copies worldwide,...

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Hedge Tip

Hedge Tip

John Bedford Lloyd playing the character Bill Clark (based on Henry Paulson), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, 20th Century Fox, 2010 From Bloomberg: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stepped off the elevator into the Third Avenue offices of hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management LP in Manhattan. It was July...

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Squeezed

Squeezed

by Justin E. H. Smith In 1994 I was admitted to a few Ph.D. programs, but only two of them were not from my back-up list. One of these was UCLA, where I was admitted with full-funding for the doctoral program in Slavic linguistics, and the other was Columbia,...

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Are the Chinese prone to money illusion?

Are the Chinese prone to money illusion?

China’s monetary policy and its inflation have got people talking – particularly about the effect on other countries. But what about its effect on China’s people? Are they fooled by money illusion?

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Motives Matter

Motives Matter

by Tim Besley and Maitreesh Ghatak As we approach three years since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the incentives that led the financial sector to take on too much risk still exist. This column argues that they will remain so long as governments continue to provide an implicit guarantee that...

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Did anti-regulation lobbying fuel the subprime crisis?

Did anti-regulation lobbying fuel the subprime crisis?

by Deniz Igan and Prachi Mishra Did anti-regulation lobbying fuel the subprime crisis? This column shows that there is a strong relationship between financial industry lobbying and favourable financial regulation legislation. It argues that the financial industry fought, and defeated, measures that might have curbed some of the reckless...

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Take My Wealth, Please (Or Not)

Take My Wealth, Please (Or Not)

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich | by Warren E. Buffett

The New York Times

Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting....

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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