Market Analysis

40 Things That Mattered This Week, 09/23/2011

Here are 40 interesting stories that flew beneath many folks’ radar screens this week.

As you might imagine, a fair bit of news comes across my desk here at Fisher Investments. And I’ve noticed there’s often a number of stories that go ignored or underappreciated by most. That was the genesis for my new weekly installment—Things That Mattered This Week. The exact content will vary week-to-week, but you can expect an array of news I felt was particularly noteworthy, interesting or educational. Hat tip to Andrew Bates and Alex Nelson, without whom this compilation likely wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

  1. Apoplectic? That’s Jim Cramer’s style. But even he thinks the PIIGS crisis is becoming overblown.
  2. Take it from David Malpass: The Fed ‘Twist’ That Won’t Dance.
  3. How About a Green Tea Party?I’ll take mine with honey and a little lemon, thank you.
  4. Sylvia Nasar’s latest book is making waves, as is her unique take on the role of economists in human history. The Sunny Economist.
  5. A year that started with fairly sanguine forecaster tone has become an all-out pessimism fest. Wall Street’s Optimism Fades.
  6. Well, it only took 50 years. Old Ketchup Packet Heads for Trash. Still,Removing unnecessary complexity or non-value added costs from products, he explains, enables the Anglo-Dutch manufacturer of Dove shampoo and Flora margarine to meet consumer needs at lower costs, “thus being able to provide them a better value proposition in difficult economic times”. The Complexities of Simplifying.
  7. As Chancellor Merkel’s political clout continues to weaken, her ability to lead Germany in the PIIGS crisis must be monitored. Berlin Poll Hits Merkel Coalition.
  8. At this point, most evidence of China’s slowdown points to a “soft” rather than “hard” landing. That’s good for the global economy. New-Home Price Gains Are Slowing in China.
  9. With markets in turmoil again, IPO activity has dried up. Tough luck, Zynga and Facebook! IPO Logjam Longest in Four Years.
  10. Like any overly onerous regulation, loopholes can and will be created. Is anyone surprised by that? Fears Over Exemptions to Volcker Rule.
  11. Heart Disease—the UN’s newest concern. World Leaders Debate Diseases Burden.
  12. The more people we have in the world, the better—particularly when they’re brought up to be productive citizens. Welcome, Number Seven Billion.
  13. A tremendous story of capitalism and success. From Migrant to Magnate.
  14. What’s the next great financial acronym? After BRICs, CIVETS? Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.
  15. Simply amazing:"The grand aim is to construct complex chemical cells with life-like properties that could help us understand how life emerged and also to use this approach to define a new technology based upon evolution in the material world—a kind of inorganic living technology." Scientists Claim First Step Towards Creating 'Inorganic Life'.
  16. There’s always a better woman behind every great man, right? Then what would you call Jenny Marx? Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of Revolution.
  17. The wisdom, and ingenuity, of crowds. Even nerdy ones. Online Gamers Crack AIDS Enzyme Puzzle.
  18. More iterations of fiat currencies? Bad idea. In Pockets of Booming Brazil, a Mint Idea Gains Currency.
  19. “The lower crime figures contrast with the widely held belief that bad economic times lead to higher crime. Law-enforcement officials worried in recent years that a sluggish economic recovery and stubborn joblessness could reverse the improvement in crime rates of the past decade.” US Logs Big Drop in Crime.
  20. Turkey continues to assert itself in the Middle East—newly discovered plentiful fossil fuels will continue to reveal much about the issue. In Cyprus, Turkey Raises Stakes Over Oil Drilling. Turkey’s Erdogan: Mideast Troublemaker.
  21. Why is this a surprise? S&P Cuts Italy’s Sovereign Debt Rating.
  22. It’s shocking and fairly absurd that Greece is still classified as a developed economy. The better part of its commerce is black market. Loan Sharks Worsen the Bind for Some Greeks. Why Greece Won’t Reform.
  23. WSJ’s Bret Stephens always tells it like it is. But when the dust settles, What Comes After ‘Europe’?
  24. “I am confident that the localized judgment of Mr. & Mrs. Average American would force better decisions on the banks than any government entity could.” Ten Ways to Make The World Better.
  25. “We find that in the century between 1901 and 2000, a banking crisis began in one or more countries (often in several simultaneously) in 54 of the 100 years! The crises can last multiple years.” There's Usually a Banking Crisis Somewhere.
  26. Forgive Student Loans? Worst Idea Ever. Enough said.
  27. Obama's Jobs Bill 'Pretty Well Jammed' In the Senate.“This so-called jobs bill seems to be about as popular as Solyndra, and I’m just talking about among Democrats. Yet the president’s out there acting like somebody’s actually putting up a fight. So this whole thing is a charade.”
  28. What Are The Odds You'll Get Struck By NASA's Falling Satellite? “The annual risk that a single person gets struck by a lightning is about a factor 60,000 higher, and the risk of a serious injury from a motor vehicle accident is about 27 million times higher than the risk associated with re-entry events."
  29. Power Corrupts, Especially When It Lacks Status. “The idea that power always corrupts may not be entirely true. Just because someone has power or, alternatively, is in a ‘low status’ role does not mean they will mistreat others. Rather, ’power and status interact to produce effects that cannot be fully explained by studying only one or the other basis of hierarchy.’
  30. The "Silent Majority' Agrees With Me, Voters BelieveAlso, I’m a better than average driver, right?
  31. With so many people paying for tickets and watching on television, college sports have become Very Big Business. According to various reports, the football teams at Texas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Penn State—each earn between $40 million and $80 million in profits a year, even after paying coaches multimillion-dollar salaries.” What about the players? The Shame of College Sports.
  32. Richard Dawkins is always controversial, and can seldom be ignored. A Knack for Bashing Orthodoxy.
  33. Do deep sea cables have barnacles growing on them? The Deep Web: Incredible New Map of the Undersea Cable That Keeps 99 Percent of the World Clicking.
  34. “NFL coaches, like investors, aren't always good at coolly calculating the odds and choosing the best balance of risk and reward. Prior statistical research has shown that they run the ball too often and pass it too seldom, and that they're too keen to punt in "fourth-and-short" situations rather than try for a needed yard or two.” What NFL Coaches and Investors Share
  35. Is Ireland still a PIIG? Ireland Achieving Quiet Success
  36. Malthusians need not apply, but thanks for your interest. Peak Oil Debunked
  37. Why on earth are Congressmen trying to instruct the Fed? Even if they’re right, the Fed must remain autonomous. GOP Leaders Urge the Fed Not to Act
  38. Economic Juggernaut? Yeah. But China’s capital markets come up a bit, well, short. Why China Is a Financial Midget
  39. “Far more than simply conveying the story of a country or civilization, an education in history can create critical thinkers who can digest, analyze and synthesize information and articulate their findings. These are skills needed across a broad range of subjects and disciplines.” The Education Our Economy Needs.
  40. And, an important historical perspective on Europe: Germany and the Eurozone: Marked by a Miracle.

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*The content contained in this article represents only the opinions and viewpoints of the Fisher Investments editorial staff.