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What We Read Today 06 May 2014

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.

  • German Businesses Urge Halt on Sanctions Against Russia (Matthew Karnitching, The Wall Street Journal) Hat tip to David Merkel who asks is business so global that major wars can't be fought? (Twitter) Germany's major corporations and bank strongly oppose further sanctions and that is the message German Chancellor Angela Merkel has brought to Washington.

  • Economics is too important to leave to the experts (Ha-Joon Chang, The Guardian) Hat tip to Steve Keen. The author teaches economics at Cambridge. He's ready to join the citizenry which as a group "should all learn economics and challenge what the professionals tell us to believe". Dr. Chang is a supporter of the student movement ISIPE which we discussed yesterday 'behind the wall'. See also GEI News.
You wouldn't have guessed it, given the fanfare surrounding the 0.8% growth figure for the first quarter of 2014, but people in the United Kingdom have been living through a period worse than Japan's infamous "lost decade" of the 1990s.
  • The End of Food (Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker) A techie entrepreneur has found a way to replace a $470 a month groceries bill with $50 spent to formulate a month supply of a chemical mixture which tastes good and produces great results. After living on this brew as his only source of nourishment inventor Rob Rhinehart said:
"I feel like the six million dollar man. My physique has noticeably improved, my skin is clearer, my teeth whiter, my hair thicker and my dandruff gone. I haven't eaten a bite of food in thirty days, and it's changed my life."

The Soylent product can be purchased through a fund raising website, one week, two weeks or a month supply at a time. Over $2 million in sales has been recorded to date.

Today there are 14 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

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  • 5 Dirty Secrets About the U.S. Economy (Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review) Hat tip to Markus Sagebiel. Econintersect suggests that these five dirty little secrets are well known to many readers of this blog. But the things the author talks about are secrets to a vast majority of Americans.


  • Behind LinkedIn’s Slower Growth, Lack Of Profits (Jeff Bailey, YCharts) an early darling of social networking investors, LinkedIn has run out of steam in recent months as growth has slowed and profits evaporated. The company may not be profitable in 2014. The share price has fallen 42% over the most recent 8 months. Why? The company has continued to invest heavily in development and marketing while revenue growth has declined from 57% in 2013 to 46% in Q1 2014. And forward guidance indicates 36% revenue growth for the entire year.


  • Henry Simons and a Debt-Free World (Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, House of Debt) This is one of the most interesting summaries of the "Chicago Plan" we have read. It shows the idea is basically a separation of depository banking from lending and investing. It ends the destabilizing activity of borrowing short and lending long (with respect to time).
  • Spain Leads Bond Rally With Yields Falling to Records (Lucy Meakin, Bloomberg) PIIGS bonds are in greater demand than ever, with Italy, Ireland and Spain yields falling to record lows. The 10-year yields are with striking distance of the U.S. (2.6%) with Spain and Italy at 3.0% and Ireland at 2.8%. Even Portugal at 3.6% has come down sharply from a peak of 17% in early 2012. Greece is higher (6.2%) but that yield also seems quite remarkable (low); those bonds were being given away two years ago when yields topped out at 48%. Sober Look has some charts:


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