Strange days indeed

Just a minor addition to the vast streams of pap being written and spoken about the current crisis (what crisis?). Inspired by watching financial TV in my hotel room.

Iceland seems to have sold itself to the Russians “We have not received the kind of support that we were requesting from our friends,” said Geir Haarde, prime minister. “So in a situation like that one has to ask one’s enemies look for new friends.” Your friendly local Icelander has some comments. At least I didn’t put any of my savings into Iceland, which now looks distinctly unwise. They were offering desperation rates.

Jakarta has abandoned share trading entirely. And the US doesn’t look too good.

The UK seems to be spending £50bn on banks, in exchange for preference shares. And before anyone says “how clever of them to have thought of that” I’ll say they are only copying Buffett. Except Buffett got 10% interest; our glorious govt doesn’t seem to have bothered specifying a rate, which suggests they (we) ‘ll get ripped off.

Stein has the solution.

Or maybe you should read a good book by the light of your internet connection?

[Update: the UK govt has gone (gone?) mad, and pledged to protect all deposits by UK investors, everywhere no matter how recklessly made. Well, that answers the question I’ve been pondering: “do these people know what they are doing” with the clear answer “no”. “Whatever else happens”, Mr Darling said, “we will ensure that anyone who has a vote, especially older people more likely to use it, gets bought out”. OK, I made up the last bit.