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Robocalypse Now? Central Bankers Argue Whether Automation Will Kill Jobs - The New York Times

artificial intelligence threatens broad categories of jobs previously seen as safe from automation, such as legal assistants, corporate auditors and investment managers. Large groups of people could become obsolete, suffering the same fate as plow horses after the invention of the tractor.

“More and more, we are seeing economists saying, ‘This time could be different,’”......among the economists in Sintra there was plenty of skepticism about whether the Robocalypse is nigh......Robocalypse advocates underestimate the power of scientific advances to beget more scientific advances, said Joel Mokyr, a professor at Northwestern University who studies the history of economics.....Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google — whose self-driving technology may someday make taxi drivers unnecessary — said that the plunging cost of information technology “has virtually eliminated the fixed cost of entering a business.” Companies can rent software and computing power over the internet..... disruptions caused by technology help account for rampant pessimism among working-class and middle-class people across the developed world.
artificial_intelligence  automation  Benjamin_Bernanke  central_banks  David_Autor  developing_countries  economists  fixed_costs  Hal_Varian  job_destruction  job_displacement  job_loss  Joel_Mokyr  pessimism 
june 2017 by jerryking
Many casualties in aftermath of bursting bubbles -
November 12, 2009 | FT | from Mr Edward Chancellor.

Prof Mishkin classifies the technology bubble as a mere case of irrational exuberance. He claims that its collapse posed no systemic risk. If that were the case, then why did the failure of WorldCom and Enron in 2002 drive his former colleague at the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, to worry publicly about a “deflation” threat? And if the US economy was in such a robust state, why did the Fed keep interest rates so low for so long, thereby creating a real estate bubble?
A legacy of excessive debt is only one of the problems posed by bubbles. They contribute to the misallocation of resources – too much fibre optic cable or too many McMansions – which acts as a drag on economic growth. Asset price inflation also redistributes wealth in an arbitrary way between winners and losers. Bursting bubbles damage both corporate and household balance sheets, creating many innocent victims as people lose their jobs or suffer depleted savings.
bubbles  U.S._Federal_Reserve  debt  casualties  letters_to_the_editor  technology  asset_values  Benjamin_Bernanke  arbitrariness 
october 2016 by jerryking
Study history, young man
25 Mar 2008 or 13 Mar 2008 | Reuters |By Hugo Dixon

The current crisis might have been less severe if bankers, traders and fund managers knew more about previous bubbles. To qualify as financial professionals, they should have to pass exams quizzing them about the South Sea Bubble and the crash of 1929.

It’s time for the financial industry to go back to school – to study
financial history. Rapid expansion, early retirements and lack of
study mean that there are too many youngsters who have, at
best, a hazy knowledge of their profession’s past.
True, there is some experience about. The dotcom bubble is
still a vivid memory for many. But few were practising
professionals during the 1980s Japanese bubble, let alone the
oil, inflation and banking crises of the early 1970s. As for study
of financial history, it’s often thought of as something to be
taken up seriously in retirement, along with gardening or art
What’s more, the weight of history – the grim persistence of the
pattern of excess followed by disaster – is felt mostly by greybeards who don’t even want to understand modern financial technology. That ignorance left them almost speechless when
the time came to complain about the risks of securitisation, let alone the structure of CPDOs. Historical knowledge doesn’t guarantee prudence. Ben Bernanke, the head of the US central bank, is an expert on the Great Depression, but seems to have forgotten about the Great
Inflation. Still, in an atmosphere of general ignorance, it is hardly surprising that the world’s financiers threw caution to the winds in recent years. To improve the odds, future financiers should be made to study history. As it stands, mandatory exams such as the US Series 7
or those given by the UK’s Financial Services Authority only include technical matters such as the basics of securities and financial derivatives. Financial history isn’t even an option. The next generation of aspiring bankers, traders and fund managers should be quizzed about the South Sea Bubble, the crash of 1929 – and the great credit crash of 2007. And while we’re at it, why not send the fuddy-duddies back to school, too, to brush up on CDO squareds?

Context news: The UK's Financial Services Authority exams
are required by anybody who wants to take an advisory role in
finance. They do not contain a financial history component.
In the US, individuals wanting to sell securities are required to
take the Series 7 exams. They have no financial history component.
March 25 2008
Benjamin_Bernanke  bubbles  crisis  economic_downturn  economic_history  financial_history  financiers  Hugo_Dixon  ignorance  manias  quizzes  recessions 
july 2010 by jerryking
Messy Times for Ben Bernanke and the Fed -
May 14, 2010 | New York Times | By SEWELL CHAN. "we had neither
the mandate nor the tools to be the financial system’s supercop. "
Notes: (1) read “The Great Contraction, 1929-1933,” in which Milton
Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz blamed the Fed’s failure to expand
the money supply for the Depression’s severity and duration. (2)
“Because I appreciate the role of chance and contingency in human
events, I try to be appropriately realistic about my own capabilities. I
know there is much that I don’t know.”

— Ben S. Bernanke, May 22, 2009
(3) “Keep a ‘gratitude journal,’ in which you routinely list
experiences and circumstances for which you are grateful.”

— Ben S. Bernanke, May 8, 2010
economists  Benjamin_Bernanke  U.S._Federal_Reserve  gratitude  messiness  pretense_of_knowledge  Great_Depression  Milton_Friedman  humility  unknowns  chance  luck  contingency  books  economics  economic_history  financial_system  frequency_and_severity 
may 2010 by jerryking
Lessons of the '30s: Long Study of Great Depression Has Shaped Bernanke's Views; Fed Nominee Learned Perils Of Deflation, Gold Standard And Pricking of Bubbles; A Grandmother's Explanation
Dec 7, 2005 | Wall Street Journal pg. A.1 | Greg Ip. "In
1983, Mark Gertler asked his friend and fellow economist Ben Bernanke
why he was starting his career by studying the Great Depression. "If you
want to understand geology, study earthquakes," Mr. Bernanke replied,
according to Mr. Gertler. "If you want to understand economics, study
the biggest calamity to hit the U.S. and world economies." "Lafley was
in charge of the company's Asian operations during a major Japanese
earthquake and the Asian economic collapse. That's when he discovered,
he says, that "you learn ten times more in a crisis than during normal
10x  Benjamin_Bernanke  economists  U.S._Federal_Reserve  bubbles  financial_history  Greg_Ip  Great_Depression  disequilibriums  geology  earthquakes  '30s  anomalies  crisis  deflation  lessons_learned 
november 2009 by jerryking
Bernanke's Bubble Laboratory -
May 16, 2008 WSJ article by Justin Lahart on the rise of
studying "bubbles"(manias) in housing, credit, tech stocks,
commodities at Princeton University
bubbles  Benjamin_Bernanke  commodities  credit  economics  equities  financial_history  history  housing  manias  Princeton 
january 2009 by jerryking

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