Tagged: james surowiecki

To Fail Too Big

Remember back in 2008, when it was decided by those who decide such things that Lehman Brothers wasn’t too big to fail, and the planet’s financial infrastructure melted down? Remember when the mortgage bubble built from “collateralized debt” burst like cheap balloons? It’s been five years. Memories fade. You may have already forgotten that the...

Where the Money Is

Take a walk around your city’s downtown. Look at the skyline. Note the names on the tallest buildings. See who has the wealth.  In Los Angeles, almost all the skyscrapers bear the names of corporations that handle money: banks, accounting firms, insurance companies. This seems right. These organizations, one reckons, ought to have lots of...

Department of I Tried to Warn You

One of the most useful tools at a blowhard’s disposal is a search function of his gaseous blatherings. When one is in the business of spouting unsolicited opinions, few of which garner attention or reflection worthy of their profundity, having the means to retrieve long-ignored pronoucements allows the self-annointed know-it-all to remind himself (and anyone...

Too Big to Fail

While we’re genuinely sympathetic to the enormous hardship that accompanies the loss of a job, the spectacle of Detroit automakers pleading for alms from us, the citizenry, from whom they have earned unfathomable wealth over the decades, is one of those macabre spectacles that normally appear in only the most imaginative science fiction. Our compassion...

Gambling on Healthcare

Almost every month, the call goes out to those of us in, or on the fringes of, the so-called “jazz community”: So-and-so was in a bad car accident. He has medical bills of $44,000 and NO INSURANCE! We’re organizing a benefit concert to raise money to help pay for his care. Please contribute what you can… ...

The Wisdom of Crowds

Currently making the rounds of all the free advertising outlets [read: fawning reviewers], a new book by theNew Yorker columnist James Suroweicki asserts that a big bunch of average people often turn out to be smarter than a small group of experts. Mobs, the author asserts, are often better predictors of the future — whether it’s...