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global meltdown conference February 18, 2009

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On Friday I will be at a conference at the College of Law of the University of Iowa on the topic: Global Meltdown: Examining the Worst Global Financial and Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression. I’ll be talking about the regulation of credit rating agencies, presenting a paper with the title: Rhetoric and the Regulation of the Global Financial Markets in a Time of Crisis: the Regulation of Credit Ratings.

digital moms February 16, 2009

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I have been reading about “digital moms”:

Digital moms are multidimensional in their online behaviors, and their interests extend beyond parenting. Digital moms are more likely to connect with friends than with family using digital technologies, and they are not afraid to seek advice or companionship from known or anonymous friends. Additionally, interests like Clothing/Fashion and Cooking/Food remain the most popular, and consistently so, regardless of a woman’s age; while other category interests like Baby/Parenting, Telecommunications, Medication/Medical Condition are lifestage-oriented and change as their children grow.

Multidimensional, and with interests which “extend beyond parenting” – really ?? What about the transnational financial crisis and financial regulation? Don’t we want to know about that? I suppose it’s not relevant as it doesn’t help with marketing stuff. Or maybe the focus comes from the “survey group”: (more…)

reindeer welfare February 16, 2009

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Although the EU is concerned about animal welfare, that won’t stop financial aid to reindeer slaughterers in Norway (a member of the EEA, not the EU). The EFTA Surveillance Authority recently said that such aid wouldn’t constitute unlawful state aid under the EEA Agreement:

Reindeers and products processed from reindeers, in so far as they do not fall under Chapters 25 to 97 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) or are specified in Protocol 3 to the EEA Agreement, fall outside the general scope of the application of the Agreement.

cheese or onions? February 10, 2009

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Via feminist law professors I just read about a study of underarm sweat – it seems that male underarm sweat smells like cheese and female sweat smells like onions, and the independent smell assessors (a job I don’t think I’d like to have) liked the cheesy smell better. We can’t even get that one right. But really – how do we know the smell assessors were really independent ? Perhaps they suffered from a pro-cheese bias.

basic bank accounts February 6, 2009

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Now that keeping money under the mattress is looking like a sensible financial strategy, the EU Commission is consulting on ensuring access for Europeans to a basic bank account.

consumers and financial regulation February 2, 2009

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In a speech the other day, Luis Aguilar of the SEC argued for greater representation of consumers’ interests in the rule-making process (which is one of my preoccupations):

A complementary proposal is the formation of a federal advisory committee to make recommendations for improving retail investor participation in Commission business and for improving the usefulness to retail investors of Commission rules. As we seek to improve our regulatory process and adopt better rules, I think it is important to provide retail investors with an active voice in our policymaking, since much of what we do often affects retail investors who do not routinely have contact with members of the Commission or its staff, too often do not submit comment letters, may not be well-versed in the securities or administrative laws, and may not effectively be represented by industry groups. Establishing a federal advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (or FACA) consisting mostly of retail investors to provide advice and guidance on our rules and on our ways of interacting with these investors could be very useful. I believe direct retail investor input would be helpful toward restoring the confidence of retail investors in the SEC — they can again know that we work for them and are their advocate. Such a committee also could play a key role in our efforts to address issues of importance to retail investors and provide a useful forum for their views to be more effectively incorporated into the Commission’s work.