Kindle, Onion, Stiglitz

Many people have written to ask when Amazon will have the Kindle version of the 2010 edition of my stock book available. I just received word that it will be up in four weeks. So, if you’ve been waiting to get the book on your Kindle, mark your calendar for the middle of March. It will be linked from the paper book’s page at Amazon.

My friend Michael asked, “Why can truth be told only by comedians?” and sent along a link to U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion at The Onion. From the article:

“Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…” said [Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke, who then paused for a moment [during his report to the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday], looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. “You know what? It doesn’t matter. None of this — this so-called ‘money’ — really matters at all.”

“It’s just an illusion,” a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. “Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless.”

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) finally shouted out, “Oh my God, he’s right. It’s all a mirage. All of it — the money, our whole economy — it’s all a lie!”

Screams then filled the Senate Chamber as lawmakers and members of the press ran for the exits, leaving in their wake aisles littered with the remains of torn currency.

The scene may yet unfold if recent comments by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz hold true. He told Henry Blodget at Yahoo Finance yesterday, “In many ways, things are worse now than they were before.”

He says that, without financial reform — of which we’ve had none whatsoever — we’re headed for another financial disaster. In the clip below, he says we need to change the incentive structure that still rewards high risk and short-term decision making. One and a half years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, banks are even bigger and there’s less competition. The word on Wall Street remains: bet the system and fail, taxpayers will pay for the mess.

He said that this is not the first time banks have been bailed out: “I was chief economist at the World Bank and I saw it happening over and over again. There were these bailouts with names of countries, but the bailouts were not the bailouts of the countries, they were the bailouts of the banks who had made bad lending decisions and excessive risk-taking: Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea — I could go on. The point is, this has become a pattern since we allowed deregulation, since we allowed the banks to do whatever they want, and unless we stop it — if history is our guide — we can expect another one, almost for sure.”

Here’s the clip:

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