Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Day Links

1. An interesting video of Slavo Zizjek being bombarded with images and asked to reply - much of the early part focuses on images of the financial crisis.

2. Memories from Millenium Eve in Dublin

3. Sean Flynn on 2010 in Irish Education

4. Treasury webpage on financial reform in the US - the Obama Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act introduced a raft of new measures that are well worth keeping uptodate on. In their own words,

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 will:

End “Too Big to Fail” and taxpayer-funded bailouts, so that average Americans will no longer have to pay the price for greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street. Failing firms will be shut down in an orderly fashion, not bailed out with taxpayer dollars. It gives the federal government the authority to shut down and break apart large non-bank financial firms whose imminent failure might threaten the broader system. Any losses that cannot be covered through sales of the firm’s assets will be recouped from the largest financial institutions. This authority follows the simple principle that the financial industry – and not taxpayers – will bear the costs of a resolution. As a result, no firm will be insulated from the consequences of its actions, protected from failure or benefit from the perception that taxpayers will be there to break their fall.

Put in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history, including the creation of a new dedicated Bureau. The CFPB, an independent entity within the Federal Reserve, will have one mission: to promote transparency and consumer choice, and to prevent abusive and deceptive practices. The CFPB substantially consolidates the authorities of seven different regulators. This consolidation – into one agency with a single focus – will benefit not only consumers, but responsible actors throughout the financial system.

Give financial regulators the tools they need to identify and curb reckless risk-taking, so that we can help prevent future crises and keep our financial system stable and strong. In the years leading up to the crisis, there was a clear failure to look beyond the safety of individual firms or markets to the health and stability of the entire system. The bill creates a Financial Stability Oversight Council, chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, and composed of the heads of the financial regulatory agencies, and an Office of Financial Research within the Treasury Department – to support the Council through the collection and analysis of data concerning risk in the financial system.

Create a safer, more transparent derivatives market through comprehensive reform, to bring derivatives transactions out of the shadows and put them under strong supervision, with robust capital and margin for derivatives dealers, and robust clearing and trading requirements for standard contracts. Standardized derivatives will be centrally cleared and traded. Derivative clearing organizations will be subject to conservative risk management standards to strengthen the core infrastructure of these markets, as well as public reporting requirements to increase transparency and efficiency.

5. Lay summary of last year's Gallup well-being research

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