Very interesting article on the bubble and its bursting

December 21, 2008

Club Troppo, one of the most interesting Australian blogs around, has published a link to a very interesting story in The Atlantic with the following introduction:

Henry Blodget was a Merrill Lynch tech analyst during the tech bubble. A bubble he rode to fame and then to a Spitzer investigation and oblivion. In this piece in the Atlantic he gives a great analysis of what he thinks caused the current housing and debt bubble and draws the conclusion that the problem is systemic and largely unavoidable in the long run in free-market capitalism.

The Atlantic article starts with:

The magnitude of the current bust seems almost unfathomable—and it was unfathomable, to even the most sophisticated financial professionals, until the moment the bubble popped. How could this happen? And what’s to stop it from happening again? A former Wall Street insider explains how the financial industry got it so badly wrong, why it always will—and why all of us are to blame.

The article is very interesting as giving a potentially plausible rationale for the bubble’s inflating and bursting.

The ETS White Paper and an update

December 17, 2008

The ETS White Paper was released yesterday launching a jungle of comment. This isn’t surprising given the popular interest in an ETS and the perception that this was a key difference between the Coalition and ALP at the last federal election. Of course, the Coalition had done an about-turn on an ETS in the last term of parliament and would have introduced a scheme had it been re-elected, but their late change of heart didn’t change the perception that they were dragged to the ETS kicking and screaming.

Whether the Coalition would have produced a fairly similar policy to the just-released White paper is an known unknown (or is it an unknown known?), but it’s a fair bet that much of it would have been similar – the assistance measures may have been different, as may have been the targets (or possibly not), but the core of it would probably have looked fairly similar.

It’s interesting to read the reaction to the White paper – or rather the targets and assistance measures. As someone working for one of the three energy market institutions, I’m happy to just read the comments, although you often come across some that make you want to give a short tutorial on “how things work”.

All I’ll say about the White paper is that it would have been a big task putting it together. I wouldn’t even like to imagine the job.

Things are pretty busy at the moment – but fortunately the holidays are near and I’m looking forward to staying in Sydney for a fortnight. It’ll be very nice to stay at home during Christmas for the first time in years. I plan to go to gym each day and maybe read a book or two.