You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

September 19, 2008

Good Call!

Alan Greenspan was knighted by the Queen of England in 2002. Here's the citation announced at the time by the British Treasury:

The award is in recognition of his outstanding contribution to global economic stability and the benefit...realized from the wisdom and skill with which he has led the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at September 19, 2008 08:06 AM

Anybody have a good explanation for what this means?

the Federal Reserve poured almost $300 billion into global credit markets and barely put a dent in the level of alarm.

the Federal Reserve stunned investors before dawn on Thursday by announcing a plan to provide $180 billion to financial markets through lending programs operated by the European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Japan, Britain and Switzerland.

Tensions remained so high that the Federal Reserve had to inject an extra $100 billion, in two waves of $50 billion each, just to keep the benchmark federal funds rate at the Fed’s target of 2 percent.

What does it mean to "inject" or "pour" money into "global credit markets"? How exactly is this done? The second paragraph mentions "lending programs", but that's hardly more specific.

Posted by: SteveB at September 19, 2008 09:14 AM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 10:59 AM

The theory is that, for the global economy to function, big corporations need to be able to borrow money whenever they want to. This is the "global credit market". Right now, with so many failing businesses around, crediters don't want to lend anyone money, which is triggering a recession.

As for "injecting" money into the system, I'm not really clear on that either. I suspect that at the end of the day some people in New York and Washington will get very rich and the rest of us will foot the bill.

Posted by: BaronMarius at September 19, 2008 11:15 AM

The British royal family are well known shape shifter saurian overlords.

According to David Icke anyway.

The fundamental problem (IMO) is that the derivative market has created such a complex web of untraceable and muddled-value transactions, there is no real transparency to the value of any of these companies (that are too large to fail).

No one has any idea how leveraged anyone else is. Ha! Keep hiring those PhD quants at incredible rates you dumbass motherfuckers. Their only function was to muddy the water -- boy am I glad that the math and physics academics hired into those positions had the foresight and practical experience to know their limitations. I don't know how we mouthbreathers got along before they came along.

Have I said dumbasses already? I can't say it enough since that very descriptive word has lost all meaning. It makes me angry enough that whenever I see a gated community I get the distinct urge to grab a pitchfork and torch and storm their faux brick battlements.

Posted by: Labiche at September 19, 2008 11:54 AM

To be fair, Her Majesty doesn't actually get to pick whom she knights; she does whatever the Government at the time tells her. And that would have been — why, yes, yes it was: Tony Blair and the Thatcherite neocon wunderkinder of the NuLabour project! Which explains a lot.

Posted by: Mike at September 19, 2008 01:00 PM

Quit yer bellyachin', ye landlubber! He be a knight in the fine tradition of Sir Henry Morgan.

Posted by: hf at September 19, 2008 01:59 PM

In this case I think, "injecting" money into the system essentially just means printing more of it. It's a useful way for governments to repay debts when the economy is no longer producing any tradable goods. See e.g. Weimar republic.

Posted by: john at September 19, 2008 02:04 PM

Speaking of Tony Blair, I see he is teaching at Yale this semester. The great cycle of life!

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at September 19, 2008 03:09 PM

Oh, I suppose the British Royal Family has done less harm than our royal families, the Clintons and the Bushes. Their pomp and circumstance makes ours look cheap and threadbare, their scandals are more fun, and Her Majesty is a lot nicer than Barbara Bush. And, some of them at least, speak English. So, their upper class twits are preferable to our elite bullies greedy tycoons.
Finally, we ain't got nuthin' like Chelsea or Arsenal when they play the game well.

Posted by: donescobar at September 19, 2008 04:09 PM

If GWB could award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to L. Paul Bremer III, Tommy R. Franks, and George J. Tenet, some of the worst administrators ( it seems, the worse one is, higher the honour!!!!!), it seems a natural progresion that Greenspan should be knighted for his total incompetence by the Brits as the British followed and supported the USA every step of the way for the past few years.

And yes, Tony Blair has moved on to Yale, probably thanks to GWB! ( correct me if I am wrong Prof Chazelle ). Wonder how much time he spends in Israel/Palestine as the special envoy of the Quartet!! And Greenspan will quit his position at Germany's Deutsche Bank after the knighthood and become a professor at the London School of Economics!!!!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at September 19, 2008 04:10 PM

Sir Alan of Greenspan, Knight of the Realm and Keeper of the Prime Rate.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 06:55 PM

From the reading I'm doing, I don't think these injections are the result of direct printing--yet. I think the Fed is shifting money back and forth via a bunch of alphabet soup facilities. Maybe we're still in the "reserve" part of the Federal Reserve?

However, the bond market seems to think that printing--and serious inflation--are on the horizon. Logical, given what we're on the hook for. For the interested, here's a discussion of the Fed, Treasury, and how money flows:

A lot of it's still Greek to me (TAF, TSLF, "slosh"). I would highly recommend popping over to and beginning to read. There's a strong strain of survivalist-macho on the boards, but don't let that blind you to the real knowledge that's been aggregated there. They've been consistently right for the last year, Karl Denninger is sharp as hell, and it's helped me protect my 401(k) fairly effectively. The no-shorting rule is terrifying, however, and I'm thinking seriously about "going to cash." The next question is, how to keep that cash from losing value when Treasury starts printing...And will the Chinese still be interested in buying?

Posted by: Mike of Angle at September 19, 2008 09:38 PM

Buy gold, gold is ALWAYS good, silver too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 10:55 PM

Oh great, let's go back to trading shiny rocks. Can't we find a way to anchor our economy with something that's genuinely valuable?

Posted by: BaronMarius at September 19, 2008 11:39 PM

BaronMarius: How about OIL, cause SOON the money won't be no good.(much like the worthless pile of financial instruments WE just bought.)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 19, 2008 11:56 PM

Is it too late for Liz to whip that sword out again and lop his head off?

Posted by: Crawford Tillinghast at September 20, 2008 12:20 AM


When you let the British royal family off the hook, it may be because you're only counting the last few generations.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at September 21, 2008 12:34 AM

They're not really off the hook, and the royals, when Britannia ruled, were plenty imperialist and racist, but the recent batch isn't filled with the brutish nastiness our businessmen as staesment display.

Posted by: donescobar at September 21, 2008 09:45 AM