Looking forward to Buttonwood 2010

Next month I’ll be attending the Buttonwood Gathering in NYC. The Economist-sponsored event was very good last year, which was the 1st inaugural.

Last year the conference theme was “fixing finance”, and featured a nice mix of polarizing speakers such as Larry Summers, Elizabeth Warren, and Tim Geithner. Unfortunately Mrs. Warren won’t be there this year, but neither will Messrs Summers or Geithner. Bob Rubin will be there, however — and that should be interesting.

Speakers I look forward to seeing this year: Nassim Taleb, Arianna Huffington, Stephen Roach, Mohamed El-Erian, Jim Chanos, and Joseph Stiglitz. Official list of speakers here.

Here’s one of the more interesting panels from last year. It’s a debate on whether financial innovation is a net positive for the economy. Jeremy Grantham destroys the competition (skip to almost 1/3rd of the way thru to see Grantham’s part).

Financial sector profits back to 30% of ALL corporate profits

Absurdity. Via doctorhousingbubble.

financial sector profits

John Green’s excellent Anti-Penny rant

This is important. And funny. I can only aspire to hate pennies as much as John Green of the VLOG Brothers does.

So let’s see. Pennies cost 1.7ยข to make. They create economic losses of up to $1b/year. You can’t buy anything with them. And they’re nasty. I hate pennies. Nickels, too. Abolish both. Maybe a silver lining to Bernanke’s inevitable debt monetization will be the elimination of worthless coins?

John Green and the vlog bros are new to me, but this is good stuff. Via Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics).

By the way, there’s an Abolish the Penny Facebook group. 483 members, not bad.

Page 1 of 11