Humble pie

by Chris Bertram on March 15, 2008

Well how wrong I was. When started “a prediction thread”: at the beginning of the 6 Nations, I didn’t even mention Wales. But they’ve been magnificent, and “deserved their victory today”: . There were so many great moments too: Skrela going backwards from the restart; and Wales winning that scrum against the head near the end. I expect the streets of Cardiff will be, er, interesting, tonight. Here’s hoping England sack Ashton and offer Shaun Edwards a lot of cash.

The one-hoss shay

by John Quiggin on March 15, 2008

The Fed’s bailout of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns has, unsurprisingly, been discussed in terms of the domino theory. A more appropriate metaphor is The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay . This was a carriage constructed on the theory that a system always fails at its weakest spot.

he way t’ fix it, uz I maintain, Is only jest T’ make that place uz strong uz the rest”.

On the Fed’s current approach, the system is unbreakable, provided that “too big to fail” protection is extended to every significant firm in the system. The result of this protection is that the kind of crisis where the failure of one firm leads to a cascade of failures elsewhere is prevented. But then

First a shiver, and then a thrill, Then something decidedly like a spill,– And the parson was sitting upon a rock, At half-past nine by the meet’n’-house clock,– Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!

–What do you think the parson found, When he got up and stared around? The poor old chaise in a heap or mound, As if it had been to the mill and ground! You see, of course, if you ‘re not a dunce, How it went to pieces all at once,– All at once, and nothing first,– Just as bubbles do when they burst.