Best of the Blogs: Senator Al Franken on Our Right to Privacy
Minyanville StaffMar 05, 2012 10:30 am
Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.
This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
"Last year, a researcher discovered that iPhones - among the world's most popular electronic devices - were storing detailed, unencrypted information on their owners' locations and uploading it to any computer they were connected to. Subsequent research revealed that both Apple iPhones and Google Android devices were sending detailed location information back to Apple and Google - and that in some cases, users didn't know about it and even if they did, they had no way of stopping it." (Also Read More Trouble at the App Store.)
"According to multiple sources both inside and outside the Silicon Valley Internet giant, Yahoo's CEO Scott Thompson is preparing a massive restructuring of the company, including layoffs that are likely to number in the thousands. Much of the change - which could be announced as soon as the end of this month - is being aimed at Yahoo's large products organization, as well as other arenas in which the company has lagged in. Also among those being considered for targeting: Public relations and marketing, research, marginal businesses and weaker regional efforts." (For related content, see Yahoo's New CEO Scott Thompson: 5 Things You Need to Know.)
"There is high-quality evidence suggesting that higher education is deep in a bubble. When I examine the weakness in the housing market I also think of the massive expansion of debt with student loans. The biggest expansion in student debt occurred in a decade where household incomes stalled out. Many of the recent graduates are struggling to find good paying work so it has become much tougher for these young professionals to purchase homes. It becomes even more difficult if they live in a state like California where housing is still showing hints of a bubble in many markets. I get e-mails from young families looking to buy but their incomes simply cannot afford prices in mid-tier markets, at least where prices stand today. They are saddled with debt not seen in previous generations and they are more reluctant to jump into a massive mortgage payment. There is little sign that the bubble in higher education is slowing down and we have some new perspectives on the data." (Also Read Majoring in Debt, Minoring in College.)
"Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression and a Bloomberg columnist, complains that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has besmirched Milton Friedman's recommendations for monetary policy. True, but not for the reasons that Shlaes offers. Friedman, of course, is the economist who forged the modern template for monetarism, in part by explaining the collapse of the U.S. economy in the 1930s as a failure of central banking to stabilize macro fluctuations. Shlaes pursues her critique on Bernanke by reminding us that Friedman preferred a stable monetary policy. She also notes that the Fed's recent actions run afoul of this ideal. "
"The enduring global crisis is giving rise to fears that economic hard times will feed political extremism, as it did in the 1930s. This column suggests that the danger of political polarisation and extremism is greatest in countries with relatively recent histories of democracy, with existing right-wing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that create low hurdles to parliamentary representation of new parties. But above all, it is greatest where depressed economic conditions are allowed to persist."
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