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Robert Teitelman

William Harrison Defends the Big Banks

Robert Teitelman | Posted 10.28.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

William Harrison's defense harkens back to the age before 2008, when banks could simply declare their manifest strengths and their Olympian wisdom. Given what we've been through, you've got to try a little harder now.

Britain 1931: An Austerity Episode in Deflationary Times

Robert Teitelman | Posted 09.18.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

This is a version of a rational-expectations hypothesis that has been pummeled of late more than a piñata. But OK, it's a political document in the midst of a presidential campaign.

One More Time: The Break-Up-the-Banks Debate

Robert Teitelman | Posted 09.09.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Do we want big banks to be essentially utilities, tightly regulated so that it's (almost) impossible for them to get into serious trouble, and small enough if they do that they can't cause harm? Do we want the entire financial system to become utility-like?

Jon Meacham's American Dream

Robert Teitelman | Posted 09.01.2012 | Media
Robert Teitelman

Those who know something will never read it, or scoff if they do. Those who don't know or care about American history will never read it unless they're stuck in a dentist's office with a broken TV. Who does that leave?

An Anarchist on Stagnation

Robert Teitelman | Posted 06.15.2012 | Books
Robert Teitelman

The stagnation thesis is interesting; at the very least it forces us to revisit and question how we attempt to further exploit nature and how this process, innovation, really occurs. But to base it all on a feeling of disappointment, based on childhood fantasies, is a bit rich.

Are Big Banks Dinosaurs?

Robert Teitelman | Posted 08.08.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Henry Kaufman, Dr. Gloom from a distant age when Salomon Brothers was still King of Wall Street, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journa declaring that, sooner or later, the era of monstrous, too-big-to-fail banks will end.

The Complexity of the Simplicity Solution

Robert Teitelman | Posted 07.30.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

If JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s big ugly trade managed to escape the bank's internal risk management operation -- not to say regulators -- how would that have found its reflection in the bank's overall risk number? It's a rule: It's the stuff we don't know, or don't want to know, that tends to kill us.

The Private Equity Debate: That '70s Show

Robert Teitelman | Posted 07.27.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Private equity may not have been the prime mover, and at times it spawned uncertainty and job losses (or worse); but it also opened opportunities, not just for buyout mavens like Romney, but for owners and managers and, in some cases, workers of middle-market companies.

Glass-Steagall and Private Equity: Fact and Fiction

Robert Teitelman | Posted 07.24.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

The "success" of private equity must mean that everyone must be an entrepreneur, an engineer or an M.B.A. "Change" that worked in the conditions of the '70s must be the solution in times that even Brooks admits are "radically different."

Jonathan Schlefer's The Assumptions Economists Make

Robert Teitelman | Posted 07.10.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

This isn't heading to the bestseller lists -- but so what? Schlefer is waving a flashlight beam in a musty attic. As Alan Greenspan's public persona suggests, economics takes a perverse pride in obscurity and opacity.

Prizes, Central Banking and Some Thoughts on Equilibrium

Robert Teitelman | Posted 04.30.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

The pretense is that through some deliberative and democratic magic, the prize is bestowed correctly. In short, there's equilibrium out there at every moment that the market is reaching for. Unfortunately, for both markets and prizes, humanity makes the call.

Stray Thoughts on the Rise of Shareholders

Robert Teitelman | Posted 06.16.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Are we better or worse off economically, socially and politically with shareholders in that pre-eminent a role? Is there a balance point? Have we, in a world of activist hedge funds and high-frequency trading, overshot that point?

Greg Smith Goes Rogue on Goldman Sachs

Robert Teitelman | Posted 05.14.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Has anyone not involved in a crime blown out of a major firm with a more devastating sendoff? Smith took no prisoners: "Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent." Exactly zero!

On the Genome, the Markets and Data

Robert Teitelman | Posted 05.13.2012 | Science
Robert Teitelman

Compared to a generation ago, there is an oceanic amount of data around. Perhaps there's simply too much data; that we lack the deep understanding (not processing power: understanding) of what's important or not in that data to effectively master it.

On Matters of Optimism and Pessimism

Robert Teitelman | Posted 04.28.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

We're at a strange moment, trembling between optimism and pessimism. Much of this is economic; after a gloomy four years or so, there are signs that a more solid economic recovery may be in the works.

Fukuyama's Recipe for the Poor Populist Left

Robert Teitelman | Posted 04.10.2012 | Media
Robert Teitelman

Francis Fukuyama has an essay at Foreign Affairs that is indubitably Fukuyama-esque. The subject is large and it's spun forward into the future, where no hypothesis can immediately be tested.

Andrew Lo and the Wisdom of Reading 21 Crisis Books

Robert Teitelman | Posted 04.08.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Playing catch-up here. MIT economics professor Andrew Lo has written a paper for the Journal of Economic Literature summarizing, with a few general po...

The Causes of Systemic Disasters

Robert Teitelman | Posted 03.12.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

The popular response to 2008 and what has followed is to focus on the single cause -- subprime, deregulation, globalization, greed, compensation -- and fail to separate out precipitating factors from less satisfying, more complex and ambiguous causes.

Kay on Havel, Orwell and the Greengrocer

Robert Teitelman | Posted 02.21.2012 | Media
Robert Teitelman

John Kay has a characteristically graceful little column today in the Financial Times that opens up new vistas rather than slams doors shut. This is rare and worth an end-of-the-year comment or two.

Stiglitz Explains the Great Depression

Robert Teitelman | Posted 02.20.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

By now seemingly everyone with access to a blog has contributed to the theory Joseph Stiglitz offers up in, of all places, the new Vanity Fair, about the causes not just of the Great Depression, but analogously, what he calls our own "Long Slump."

The Debate Over Elite Schools and Elite Jobs

Robert Teitelman | Posted 02.12.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

If you accept the research that higher socioeconomic status is the single greatest factor in academic performance, then Rivera is outlining a process that not only bakes in inequality, but deepens it over time.

Why Leon Cooperman Is So Upset

Robert Teitelman | Posted 02.07.2012 | Politics
Robert Teitelman

He feels insulted that the president has suggested that the wealthy are somehow "bad," and that they pay no taxes, which is an exaggeration, but hell, I lack the sensitivity of the rich.

OWS' Day of Action

Robert Teitelman | Posted 01.20.2012 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Two months in, we've still got nothing but platitudes and slogans from OWS. And now that's getting annoying.

Big Bang, Now and Then

Robert Teitelman | Posted 12.28.2011 | Business
Robert Teitelman

This week represents the 25th anniversary of London's Big Bang. Many beneath a certain age, particularly in the U.S., will wonder what this now-antique event in October 1986 was all about.

One More Take on Steve Jobs

Robert Teitelman | Posted 10.29.2011 | Business
Robert Teitelman

Fans still believe that Steve Jobs has the ability to transform material things -- electronic products -- to a higher, more idealistic level, which, along with his personal history and his health problems, gives him the faint nimbus of saintliness.