links for 2009-02-23

23 Feb
  • April 24th 2009: Vijay Mallya replaces the entire Royal Challengers with models from the Kingfisher Calendar. The cricketers are spun off into a B-team called Royal Challengers Red which will play without uniform, cricketing gear or any catering. However tickets to their matches costs only Rs20 each (taxes and fuel surchages extra. Conditions apply).
    May 1st 2009: In a controversial but innovative move Lalit Modi announces that all Third Umpire decisions will henceforth be decided by the public via real-time SMS polls. The system is first tried out during a Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils match. JP Duminy tries to take a quick single when a direct throw from Gautam Gambhir rattles the stumps. The umpires immediately signal for an SMS poll by using a brand new gesture: they hold up a mobile phone. After three minutes of hectic SMS polling, with millions of votes coming in from West Bengal and the North-eastern states, Debojit Saha is once again chosen as Indian Idol.
  • The markets, having tasted skepticism, are beginning to overdose. The bust likes to think of itself as a radical departure from the boom, but it has in common with it one big thing: a mob mentality…
    The first good thing to say about the boom is what it did to the value system of the ordinary business schlep. It turned him from a person who complained about the company he worked for to a person who wondered, albeit for one brief moment, if maybe he didn't have his own better idea of how to do things. If he did, he went to Silicon Valley. What distinguished Silicon Valley from every place else on the planet was a) it had lots of start-up capital and b) the people who controlled that capital understood that, if you wanted to win big, you had to be willing to fail. Failure on Wall Street has always been construed as a crime. Failure in the valley was more honestly and bravely understood as the first cousin of success.
  • From Black Monday to the Asian financial crisis, from the internet bubble to mortgage meltdown, our lives are ruled by crazy cycles of euphoria and hysteria that manage to grip the world but are all-too-soon forgotten. In this unique collection of articles Michael Lewis – ex-trader and bestselling chronicler of greed and frenzy in the markets – casts a sceptical eye back over the most panicked-about panics of recent decades. He tells a story of boom and bust, deranged greed, outsized egos and over-inflated salaries, where the only thing that can ever be predicted is our constant inability to predict anything. Using contemporary accounts from commentators such as Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman, plus many of his own best writings, Michael Lewis gives us a completely new insight into how markets really operate – and who really knows what they’re talking about.
  • 4 years before the crash, John Cassidy warned of the excesses:
    "A few years ago, it became fashionable to deny what was, in retrospect, perfectly obvious: a speculative bubble had developed on Wall Street. Instead of warning investors to go easy, bullish analysts came up with increasingly outlandish justifications for stratospheric stock prices: the death of inflation; the rise of the Internet; a productivity “miracle”; the end of the business cycle; the aging of the baby boomers. Such rationalizations aren’t heard much in connection with the stock market these days, but similar arguments are becoming prevalent in discussions of real estate."
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Posted by on February 23, 2009 in Links


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