Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #016

Here’s an entry with several links.

Big He-Men of Finance are now whining like little girly-men:

Ex-UBS chief pushes for bank’s break-up

UBS, the embattled Swiss bank that has been Europe’s main casualty of the credit crunch, was on Thursday night facing a fresh assault after a former chief executive launched an activist campaign to break it up and overhaul its board.

Luqman Arnold, who was forced out of UBS in 2001 and led a failed bid for Northern Rock, the mortgage lender, revealed he had built up a 0.7 per cent stake in the bank, valued at $450m (£226m), through Olivant, his investment company based in London.

He is pressing for a shake-up of the bank’s corporate governance, the sale of its asset management division and other units, and the ultimate separation of its investment and private banking arms.

More whining:

Citi merger architect calls deal ‘mistake’

The landmark merger that created Citigroup was a “mistake” that failed to benefit the financial services conglomerate’s investors, customers and employees, says John Reed, who masterminded the $166bn deal with Sandy Weill in 1998.

Mr Reed’s comments come days before Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the merger announcement and underline the challenges faced by Vikram Pandit, who took over as Citigroup chief executive in December, as he tries to revive the company.

At the time of its creation, Citigroup – which combined Citicorp, Mr Reed’s bank, with Mr Weill’s Travelers insurance and brokerage business – was hailed as ushering in a new era in finance by creating a one-stop shop for consumer and corporate customers.

In a rare interview, Mr Reed said it was unclear whether the company’s model or its management deserved the greater share of blame for its problems. But he said Citigroup turned out to be a “sad story”.

I like the tone and objective of both articles. Slice and dice those behemoths up! That way, they’re no longer “too big to fail.” As each separate bit drops dead, it can be left alone without the Fed shrieking and pouring billions into a resuscitation effort.

Meanwhile, on the food front, more bad news:

Corn Hits $6 a Bushel on Tight Supplies

NEW YORK (AP) — Corn prices jumped to a record $6 a bushel Thursday, driven up by an expected supply shortfall that will only add to Americans’ growing grocery bill and further squeeze struggling ethanol producers.

Corn prices have shot up nearly 30 percent this year amid dwindling stockpiles and surging demand for the grain used to feed livestock and make alternative fuels including ethanol. Prices are poised to go even higher after the U.S. government this week predicted that American farmers — the world’s biggest corn producers — will plant sharply less of the crop in 2008 compared to last year.

“It’s a demand-driven market and we may not be planting enough acres to supply demand, so that adds to the bullishness of corn,” said Elaine Kub, a grains analyst with DTN in Omaha, Neb.

Corn for the most actively traded May contract rose 4.25 cents to settle at $6 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier rising to $6.025 a bushel — a new all-time high.

The absolutely dumbest thing is growing food crops for fuel. Human beings shouldn’t have to compete with machines for food.

Last: even though one degreed eejit maintains the recession (depression!) is illusory, people living their everyday lives don’t agree:

CBS Poll: Views On Economy At All-Time Low

(CBS) Americans’ views on the economy and the general state of the country have hit an all-time low in the history of the CBS News/New York Times poll. Eighty-one percent of those polled say the country is on the wrong track, while only 14 percent believe it is heading in the right direction.

Asked to compare the state of the country to how it was five years ago, 78 percent say things are worse today – the highest percentage since CBS News began asking the question in 1986. Only four percent say things are better now.

The outlook on the economy is as bleak as views on the state of the country as a whole. Just 21 percent say the economy is in good shape – the lowest percentage recorded since October of 1992. That number is down from January of this year, when 38 percent said the economy was in good shape.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that a recession is possible, but 66 percent of those polled say the country is already in a recession – a number that is unchanged from two weeks ago.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, Bernanke, take the hint!

Explore posts in the same categories: C.O.A.T. - Belief, C.O.A.T. - Food, C.O.A.T. - Money, C.O.A.T. - Other, Depression 2.0

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