Wednesday, February 11

Baseline Scenario; economics blog

I heard about the Baseline Scenario web site and blog on MPR this morning and it looks like just the kind of detailed and wide-ranging--yet not too technical-- economic information I've been looking for. Its banner motto is "what happened to the global economy and what we can do about it." The authors pull no punches as they describe the current economic crisis as they see it, yet their tone is moderated and reasonable.

If you're watching Charlie Rose and the Sunday morning news shows, listening to MPR and watching PBS, yet crave even more financial analysis, you might enjoy this blog. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or have it delivered by e-mail.

The current post, "Why Axelrod and Emmanuel were right (on the American bank oligarchs)" starts with this: "When you cut through the technical details and the marketing distractions, sorting out the US banking fiasco comes down to one, and only one, question. How tough are you willing to be on the people who control the country’s large banks?" and give their tough recommendations.

Besides the daily blog, there are two main sections: The Baseline Scenario, describing "what happened to the global economy and what we can do about it," and The Financial Crisis for Beginners page, which covers the baseline scenario ("what happened . . . ) in an expanded form. Included here are articles on securitization, CDO's, banking capital, credit default swaps, bank recapitalization, de-leveraging and other once-exotic but now familiar terms. There are also links to radio programs (mostly MPR), video, and other web sites, including a list of recommended blogs.

Start by reading the daily posts, and then tackle the expanded coverage when and if that sounds like a good idea.

While authors James Kwak, Simon Johnson, and Peter Boone have impressive credentials, one thing we've all learned since September 2008 is not to take anyone's advice or wisdom at face value. As we Unitarians say in our stiff little way, "We ask all alike to think, not all to think alike." So visit the site! I think you'll find it valuable--but remember to question authority.

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