This week in New York Hugo Lindgren wrote about his manic effort to understand what was happening to what he mistakenly thought was a healthy economy. If not for the blogosphere, he would have just been a lost soul, searching for a breadline to join. Here are the ten websites — expert and inspired-amateur — he found the most indispensable.
10. Derivative Dribble
Of all the Groupthink maxims that pollute the popular understanding of the financial crisis, perhaps none is quite so pervasive as the notion that derivatives are, as Warren Buffett put it, “financial weapons of mass destruction.” If Buffett says so, it must be true, right? Nope. Derivative Dribble begs to differ.
9. Bronte Capital
What does the price of Latvian hookers tell us about the global economy? A lot more than you’d think. This Australian blog is a bit of an acquired taste, but it presents the world in a very unusual, and often quite revealing, light.
8. Marginal Revolution
This excellent economics site is not obsessed with the current crisis, which is one of the reasons it can be very useful on the subject: They only post about it when somebody has something original to say.
7. Felix Salmon
Portfolio’s one lasting contribution to business journalism is blogger Salmon, a first-rate argument starter and imaginative analyst.
6. The Pragmatic Capitalist
A consistent corrective to mainstream coverage. Take mutual-fund inflows, which recently spiked. Fresh moola being plowed into the markets must be good news, right? Sorry: History shows that “small investors pull their funds at exactly the wrong time and invest at exactly the wrong time.”
The relentless, screaming-tabloid headlines can be wearying, but overall Clusterstock does a very good, thorough job of covering major news and unearthing compelling points of view in the worlds of finance and macroeconomics.
4. The Big Picture
Barry Ritholtz — whose new bookBailout Nation is on our reading list — has introduced the great unwashed (like us!) to intelligent, independent thinkers on finance, such as John Hussman of Hussman Funds, David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors, and John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors.
3. DealBook/New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin has the best Rolodex on Wall Street (okay, we know nobody uses a Rolodex anymore, but what are we supposed to say, Outlook contacts?), and his blog unfailingly provides the most complete snapshot of the deals that drive the business world.
2. Infectious Greed
Paul Kedrosky loves a great catastrophe in the making and also has a keen sense of the absurd. Best of all, he draws from a rich array of sources, many well beyond the world of finance. We just don’t know how he manages to worry about so many potential disasters at the same time.
1. Calculated Risk
Run by a semi-anonymous retired business executive in Southern California, Calculated Risk has become the must-read of, well, just about anyone who wants to know where the economy is going. The main expertise here is housing and mortgages, but CR provides the clearest picture of the economy and artfully skewers the rampant misconceptions in the media’s coverage of it. Which is exactly what you want a blog to do.