Thursday, January 07, 2010

Quotes of the day

... countries don't trade with each other as countries - rather it's individual consumers and individual companies that are doing the buying and selling.--Mark Perry

Quick. What’s the trade deficit between California and the rest of the world? Don’t try Googling it because you won’t find an answer. No government agency—or private entity—computes the dollar value of goods that people in the rest of the world sell to or buy from Californians. Why not? Because it doesn’t matter.--David Henderson

If the [Icelandic] population mails in the keys [default on their international creditors], they can forget EU membership, IMF loans, and prepare for a decade of eating boiled fish (hot water and fish being the only two natural resources in the remote island). Handing over the equivalent of $16,000 each to avoid this dietary choice may seem steep, but it is well worth considering.--Andrew Clavell

In an ideal world [unclear corporate law] issues would be controlled by contracts and probably by state law and the business judgment rule. In our less than perfect world of mandatory federal securities laws, the company, facing competing litigation and disclosure demands, has to "thread a needle and walk a fine line," as its senior vice president and chief litigation counsel put it.--Larry Ribstein

How could some lawyers be worth $1,000/hour? We might expect the supply to catch up with the demand. The problem is that the supply of lawyers generally is constrained by licensing laws, and the top lawyers have to be developed – they don't walk out of law school with the contacts and expertise that commands this money. In fact, I've made the case that high-end legal expertise is undercompensated compared to what lawyers might make in new business structures that are currently prohibited by professional ethics rules.--Larry Ribstein

Globalization should be a flow of ideas, not goods.--Paul Romer

"Avatar" is all things to all people -- the perfect film for an age of intimate globalization.--Andrew Leonard

Forget the sneering reviews--[Avatar] is the most neo-con movie of 2009, or perhaps ever, because it illustrates, rather than argues, the point we neo-cons made in Iraq: that American blood is not worth more than the blood of others, and that others' freedom is not worth less than American freedom.--Ann Marlowe

I've written about filmmakers' anti-capitalist bent, explaining it mainly as artists' resentment coupled with agency costs. Little did I realize that it was actually a sneaky capitalist trick.--Larry Ribstein

Effectively, Jay-Z has made a fortune by telling people who buy Rocawear that they can have it all. This is a supercool, exclusive T-shirt. Jay-Z wears it to bed with BeyoncĂ©. It should sell for eighty dollars. But here, son, you can take it for twenty dollars. And millions of sons take it for twenty dollars because Jay-Z wears it, because Jay-Z says it's a tuxedo even if it looks and feels more like one of those tuxedo T-shirts. ... This coexisting as two things at once — luxury yet cheap, exclusive yet accessible, edgy yet mainstream — is Jay-Z in a nutshell: the gangster from the hood and the CEO in the boardroom. It is how Jay-Z has transformed himself from just another rapper with a gat to a celebrity-mogul-angel who hums advice into the loving ears of sitting governors and presidents. ... Jay-Z's duality has been purposeful. It has been as plotted as a graph. If you think that to live so doubly is disingenuous, then you may feel hoodwinked. But like penicillin out of blighted bread, there is a greater good. ... Jay-Z is black black. He is old-school double-dark-chocolate-chunk black. He is black the way Labatt is blue. He is not white black, Barack black, like our president. Or the kind of black that doesn't curse and deplores the n-word, the genteel black, like Oprah. He is, arguably, the first black-black guy to cross over into Oprah-land and Bill Clintonworld without making the Oprah-sized no-look-back forward flip that means you're selling not necessarily your soul but perhaps something fleshier, a little more external.--Lisa Taddeo

Twelve months ago, Google's contribution to the phone industry was hard to perceive. In 12 months, Google could be a leading hardware developer, the leading software developer for Verizon, a disruptive challenger to the very business model of pay-to-call phone service and the runaway leader in online advertising.--Derek Thompson

I've been testing the Nexus One for a couple of weeks and I like it a lot. It's the best Android phone so far, in my view, and the first I could consider carrying as my everyday hand-held computer.--Walt Mossberg

... this is the logic of paternalism: you discommode a large number of people in order to save other people, possibly a smaller number of other people, from financial distress. Methinks, however, that many people who like government paternalism would view it differently if it were done spontaneously by banks out of profit motive.--Megan McArdle

The union is like having herpes. It doesn’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover.--John Mackey

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