Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Tale of Two Bubbles

With all of the Madoff madness it is good to see some in-depth coverage from the Washington Post of the much bigger pyramid scheme which is taking us all down right now, the packaging and repackaging of mortgages. From the lead,
It was Wall Street's version of an inside joke: Take a motley collection of largely unwanted assets, repackage them into a new set of bonds, and name it after the pristine white-sand beaches of an exclusive New Jersey town where Katharine Hepburn once summered.
to the close,
Former SEC commissioner Paul S. Atkins, a strong advocate of deregulation during his six-year tenure that ended earlier this year, agreed that the trading of CDOs and other private investments must be done more openly to prevent systemic risk. But he cautioned that there needs to be smarter regulation, not just more rules.

"Remember this crisis began in regulated entities," Atkins said, referring to investment and commercial banks overseen by the SEC and other federal agencies. "This happened right under our noses."

this article shows both the promise of journalism and the problem of groupthink inside a bubble.

Jumping to the back of the A-Section Richard Cohen takes a look at a different bubble, the Presidency.

Inside The Bubble, as Obama well knows, lurks a further danger: groupthink. Obama has used this Orwellian word himself. "One of the dangers in a White House, based on my reading of history, is that you get wrapped up in groupthink, and everybody agrees with everything and there's no discussion and there are no dissenting views," he said this month.

Cohen has an self-serving antidote for the president-Elect: the newspaper. Given the quality of above article I will go ahead and give him the cure; but given Obama's self-awareness, and his appointments so far I am not sure we will see a repeat of the disease.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, to avoid groupthink, what Obama really ought to do is read Small Precautions everyday!