Random Links, 4/28

Baseline Scenario: Pierre Bourdieu, Tim Geithner, and Cultural Capital. “Just like an education in art history is a marker of class distinction that is used to perpetuate class distinction, an education in modern finance is a marker of distinction that sets off those who understand the true importance of Wall Street for the American economy.”

It’s important to note that the culture of Wall Street (and I’d include the rationality of economic and financial thought more general) isn’t just a mark of distinction, but it forms a socializing habitus where the idea of the financial sector serving the greater economy instead of the other way around is precluded. It’s not just about how to attend an art exhibit, or a simple guy getting dazzled by money and power; it is about how what is acceptable as a problem and as a solution gets demarcated through socialization. Can Wall Street even have a problem, outside the government’s meddling?

Here’s me pointing out that the Baseline Scenario critique had a lot in common with David Harvey’s explanation of neoliberalism.

Ross Douthat’s First Column for the Times. ““Real conservatism,” in this narrative, means a particular strain of right-wingery: a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state.” The phrase ‘supply-side economics and stress positions’ is pretty fantastic.

– Efficient Markets Hypothesis holds only if well-informed investors can effortlessly short stocks to arb out the noise traders. Here’s Nemo’s adventures trying to short GM stock. “Personally, I believe our markets have become a heavily manipulated nightmare where 99% of the volume consists of computers trading with each other based on purely technical factors.” Interesting exercise in arbitrage.

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