Opposite Ends

Interested in some civic virtue? Some Got fourteen hours to spare?  A new series by master storyteller Ken Burns about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor airs this week on the public broadcasting network – two hours tonight, and each succeeding evening through Saturday. That’s one way to acquire a little social currency.

If you are pressed for time, but still want something new to think and talk about, have a look at the Streamies, the self-professed Oscars of the YouTube serial comedy world. It is, of course, possible to learn more here than you want to know about what the young are thinking. Try the music, or watch an episode of  Video Game High School.  (Hat-tip to The New York Times.)

What I know about this booming alternative to cable and broadcast television and film, I owe mainly to “Greetings from HollyTube,” a Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover story two weeks ago.  (My own favorite YouTube production, the politically incorrect United Queendom, a four-part series on this week’s independence referendum in Scotland, wasn’t nominated.)

Meanwhile, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi plans to press ahead with his plan to begin purchasing asset-backed securities next month in an effort to revive European credit markets, despite criticism by the German Bundesbank.  Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo last week told Congress of the Fed’s intent to impose larger capital surcharges on the biggest firms.

The eleven justices of the suddenly more liberal US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia have agreed to hear altogether in December a potent threat to the Affordable Care Act; opponents of the law accuse the Obama administration of court-packing and are seeking instead to buck the matter straight up to the Supreme Court. And carbon dioxide emissions surged last year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

These stories represent more or less opposite ends of the spectrum of economic activity, bottom-up commentary- and content-creation and top-down policy.  Somewhere in the middle, often confused about how best to contribute, is Economic Principals.

Sometimes EP makes a significant contribution to a big story. Other times, it calls attention to one. Often it contributes an item that otherwise wouldn’t appear at all. (I thought I had the makings of a good weekly on the Scottish referendum for today. I didn’t, it turned out.) Still others, EP produces little more than a house ad – and that’s what I came up with today.


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