Easy Money Is Back

Since the financial meltdown, it's become conventional wisdom that prior to the crisis, the world was awash in too much easy money—and that now it doesn't have enough. It's a tidy thesis, widely accepted. It's also wrong. What's remarkable about our post-crisis reality isn't that we're not capital-starved; on the contrary, we're still swimming in excess liquidity. During those months of panic, all that cash didn't evaporate. A lot of it just got stashed on the sidelines. Now the global pool is growing again, and the next market bubbles are already popping up.

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IBM and the New American Multinational

The wreckage of the financial crisis is producing many warnings that globalization is dead, as trade and investment slow. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, global companies have rarely been in a stronger position, and if you want to get a sense of where such businesses are heading, look no further than IBM.

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China's Relationship With America

China is not happy. That's the title of the bestselling book in China. The five nationalist authors say it is time for China to "split from the West," particularly the United States and the Treasury bonds that Beijing holds to the tune of $1 trillion. This desire for greater distance from America is growing: in a May poll conducted by China's Global Times, 87 percent said they were against buying more U.S. debt.

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JOBS CUTS JUST AREN'T FAIR

More than 4 million Americans have been fired since last fall, and the job losses are far from over. April began with yet another stunningly bad report—663,000 jobs lost. The unemployment rate, now 8.5 percent, is likely to hit double digits over the coming months. Some economists say that even if the economy begins to recover later this year, it may not pick up enough steam to bring down unemployment until well into 2010.

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Confessions Of A Pundit

With the financial system in tatters and trillions of dollars of public financing at stake, economic experts have become a priestly caste. Every day, on air, online and in print, dozens of economists and strategists proclaim their views on how bad the crisis will get and how long it will last. But there's reason to be skeptical. Even though a fair number of these economic forecasters are informed and astute, they are not objective or neutral. I should know, because I've been one. And while I have always said what I believe, what I believe sometimes has been subtly shaped by who pays the bills.

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Concern About Overindebted Americans Is Overblown

It's become a mantra: American consumers have been living beyond their means, borrowing promiscuously, and now the bill is coming due. Having nearly drowned in a sea of debt, U.S. consumers must now repair their finances, spend more prudently and recognize the wisdom of past generations: spend only what you earn. But while endlessly repeated by financial gurus, politicians and the media, the belief that American consumers as a whole have been living beyond their means is a myth. Wall Street was massively overextended, but on average, consumers are not.

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Americans Don't Spend Beyond Their Means

It's become a mantra: American consumers have been living beyond their means, using their homes as piggy banks, borrowing promiscuously, and now the bill is coming due. Having nearly drowned in a sea of debt, U.S. consumers must now repair their personal finances, spend more prudently and recognize the wisdom of past generations: spend only what you earn and what you have.

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Why Derivatives Aren't So Bad

They've been dubbed financial weapons of mass destruction, attacked for causing the financial turmoil sweeping the nation and identified as the kryptonite that brought down the global economy. Derivatives have become the universal symbol of Wall Street greed, yet few Main Streeters really know what they are—namely, financial contracts between a buyer and a seller that derive value from an underlying asset, such as a mortgage or a stock. That hasn't stopped public opinion from turning forcefully against them. Most experts believe that Barack Obama needs to put an end to the financial alchemy that turned low-quality mortgages into trillions of dollars of high-priced derivatives. There seems to be near consensus that derivatives were a source of undue risk.

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THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

You've heard the story. On the heels of tumbling shares and dire warnings from the U.S. president, as well as business and government officials across the globe, the British prime minister says, "The world economy is facing its greatest risk in decades." To halt the slide, he calls for a global response to prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control.

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The End of The Ownership Society

Remember the ownership society? It was a vision woven by President George W. Bush when he was running for re-election in 2004, which saw every American family in a home, and a government that stayed out of the way of the American Dream. The families were, of course, conservative, or at a minimum traditional and nuclear, consisting of a heterosexual married couple and at least two kids living in a stand-alone home with a yard,

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IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

If there is one ubiquitous piece of financial advice, it is this: invest in different markets. Each month, the major private wealth banks in the world publish their recommended allocations. They might suggest putting 60 percent in stocks, and in turn breaking that down into U.S., European and emerging-market stocks, and an additional 40 percent in bonds, varying from U.S. Treasuries to municipal notes.

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