Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

A Certain Swagger

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I mentioned to a colleague that Varadhan, a mathematician of Indian origin at NYU, won the Abel Prize. One of the top honors in the field. My colleague turned to the person sitting next to him, a visiting academic, and said:

In the middle of all that corruption, they are good in statistics. It must be because the British were good at it.

He was expressing a common view of India as a corrupt place where nothing works, perhaps with an occasional genius. Even Americans whose knowledge of India does not extend beyond watching “Slumdog Millionaire” feel free to pass such judgment. (more…)

GMAC Chairman Was Also Madoff Agent

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Frank Rich, NYTimes

As if to confirm that much of our so-called legitimate financial world has been six degrees of separation from Bernie Madoff, GMAC’s chairman was none other than J. Ezra Merkin. In addition to presiding over losses of nearly $8 billion at GMAC, Merkin had a separate investment management business that threw away another $2 billion by feeding other people’s money (including the endowments at N.Y.U. and Yeshiva University) into Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

It is a small world at the top of the pyramid schemes of the Bush years. The impending bankruptcy of GM, with the hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake, is directly connected to its financial shenanigans. The “Real World” of blue collar jobs cannot escape the contagion of greed that brought down Wall St.

So who is J. Ezra Merkin? (more…)