Must Read Posts - Sometimes you just can't say it better for October 16, 2009

On The Economic Populist you might have noticed the middle column. We try to list other sites and blogs who have exceptional insight and writing on what is happening in the U.S. economy.

Sometimes though, one cannot say it better but miss those who did.

Must Read #1

Naked Capitalism has a dynamite piece, MSM as Propaganda.

The press has been on a downslope for at least a decade, as a result of strained budgets and vastly more effective government and business spin control (and it was already pretty good at that, see the BBC series, The Century of the Self, via Google video, for a real eye-opener). I met a reporter who had been overseas for six years, opening an important foreign office for the Wall Street Journal. He was stunned when he came back in 1999 to see how much reporting had changed in his absence. He said it was impossible to get to the bottom of most stories in a normal news cycle because companies had become very sophisticated in controlling their message and access.

(Note, the video she is referring to was a a EP Friday Movie Night.)

Must Read #2

The must read #2 is Baseline Scenario's expansion on Yves Smith above post. In Move Along we have the story of an insider during the dot con era, who knows perfectly well how main stream media simply regurgitates press releases and reprints them.

I had my first experience with modern PR during the Internet boom, when I was in marketing at Ariba. (Remember us? Market value of $40 billion at a time when our revenues were less than $100 million per quarter.) We would be planning an acquisition, and I would meet with these nice people from our PR firm who understood nothing about our technology, or our products, or our markets, or the company we were buying. And they would decide that our top-level messages needed to be X, Y, and Z, which were so devoid of content that they couldn’t even be accused of being false. And that’s what we would use in our press release and our analyst call, and a few hours later we would see it echoed in the news stories and the analyst comments.

Must Read #3

MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan has a new op-ed, Turn Goldman Rage into Government Action.

Wall Street there have always been only two basic ways to make money. The first and most difficult: Be a great investor -- to the best investors go the profits, rewarding those who are best at picking winning businesses for America and punishing those who fail through the loss of their money. The second, and seemingly preferred method, exploit those who know less than you -- and take their money, even if you have to change the laws to do so.

Ratigan is partly referring to a very weak, gutted derivatives bill coming from the House Financial Services Committee.

Must Read #4

This story just blows my mind. Bloomberg reports Women ‘a Nightmare’ to Employ in Britain, Hambro Manager Says :

Nichola Pease, deputy chairman and former chief executive of the division of Credit Suisse Group AG, said companies are scared away from hiring women because penalties for successful sex discrimination claims are unlimited and the U.K. offers 52 weeks of maternity leave compared with 12 weeks in the U.S.

“What I worry about is that legislation and protection turns this into a nightmare,” Pease said yesterday at the Treasury Committee, a panel reviewing economic policy. “We’ve got to be realistic and make sure the protection, which has very good motivation, doesn’t end up backfiring both at a female level and at a U.K. competitiveness level.”

The committee is investigating why women in the financial services industry earn less than men and gain fewer executive- level jobs. A report in April for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said the pay gap between men and women working in fund management, stock broking and futures trading is as high as 60 percent, with a 79 percent difference in bonuses.

“A year maternity leave is too long, and sex discrimination claims that run into 10s of millions of pounds are ridiculous,” Pease said, adding that often discrepancies in pay are a result of choices made by women.

While the investigation from where these quotes originate is why are women still getting the shaft in financial jobs...the testimony shows a fast solution to help - fire that guy.

Financial Armageddon also has a post unmasking the MSM propaganda that somehow women are faring better than males in this economy.

Happy Reading*

*maybe offense to those with moral or ethical personal codes



must read #1

Without ignoring the power of the media to from public opinion, I think the sanguineness of the masses implies that they have not yet felt ‘real economic pain’.

It is common to hear references to the 1960s Civil Rights and Vietnam protests. But, I don’t think it is understood that the ‘cause’ of those protest was ‘pain’. The pain that Black Folk felt during Jim Crow segregation era and the empathy for Black Folk by many Whites brought out the protesters.

Also, it is, to my mind, a misunderstanding of the Vietnam War protest to call them ‘anti-war’. It is quantitatively demonstrable that the great mass protests were during the days of the draft. After the draft ended, the size of the protest significantly dropped off. But the war went on with even great viciousness – e.g. the B-52 bombing of Hanoi and other North Vietnam cities.

In short, pain is at least a correlate (I think cause) of the 1960s mass protest -the pain of segregation and the pain of the draft. It is a reasonable hypothesis to posit that the absence of mass protest about today’s economy implies that the pain threshold of the mass has not yet been reached. It is also a reasonable hypothesis that we are very close to that threshold. I think the masters of the economy are very aware of that threshold and the iron hand they have on the ‘happy’ media is indicative of their fear that we will cross that threshold. Just a thought.

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.