What We Read Today 05 June 2014

June 5th, 2014
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

The recent example of negative interest rates in Denmark suggests that banks will not change retail interest rates, which would seem to represent a third rail as far as the general public is concerned. But this precedent for a major currency is likely to get a lot of media play, which has the potential to make depositors deeply uncomfortable even if they see no immediate change in their bank's product pricing. The long-term impact of lowering the level of trust in the financial regime may be much greater than the experts anticipate.

Follow up:

  • Does tomorrow's ECB number matter? (Martin McGuire, Futures Magazine) This author says no matter what the ECB announced today, the die is cast. And the face showing after the roll? Bonds are going down, interest rates up! See breakdown on daily bond chart after the Read more>> jump.


  • North Korea gold taints U.S. firms (Joel; Schectman, MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal) Large U.S. corporations, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Ralph Lauren, Rockwell Automation and Williams-Sonoma have disclosed that examination of relationships deep in their supply chains indicate that they may have used gold that originated from North Korea. Use of materials from North Korea, even if very indirectly, violates U.S. law.
  • The end of fish (Amy Novogratz and Mike Velings, The Washington Post) Between overfishing, pollution and increasing acidity from elevated co2 in the atmosphere (and hence in water) fish populations are challenged. This article says that the problem is primarily overfishing and that 90% of the world's large fish populations are gone. Of course the few that are left often have issues like elevated mercury content which is another tragedy of our making. Of course fish farming is replacing some of the lost wild fish but this will not help those whose subsistence living depends on wild-caught fish.
  • Everything you know about the Neanderthal is wrong (Terrence McCoy, The Washington Post) The caricature of the Neanderthal as a slow-witted, awkward, sensory-deprived, clumsy, untooled, anti-social, primitive being may be entirely wrong according to this article. McCoy wrote this column after reading Neandertal Demise: An Archaeological Analysis of the Modern Human Superiority Complex (Paola Villa and Wil Roebroeks, Plos One). This research paper concludes the archaeological record indicates no intellectual, social or tool-making differences between Neanderthals and contemporaneous homeo sapiens. Econintersect would ask: Is it possible that Neanderthals are the source of some genetic characteristics in modern humans such as blue eyes, blond hair and fair skin? After all, aren't those genes absent in modern Africans? And we would also ask if it might be possible that Neanderthals could have had functions more advanced than modern humans in such areas as smell, sight, hearing, extrasensory perception and mental telepathy (nonverbal mental communication)? That is all speculation with no known anthropological (or archaeological) basis but the thought reminds us of one of our favorite novels, written by professional anthropologists W. Michael and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, Raising Abel.

Today there are 10 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

A new asset securitization process that might be adapted by the ECB (maybe to be announced today?) is the subject of one of the articles discussed behind the wall, along with 3 other articles about the "broken" European financial system.

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