Business

Obama: What, Me Worry?

Three signs of confidence from the Obama camp: I. Ad Wars: While outspending McCain three-to-one on television advertisements between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13, Obama dramatically increased his disbursements in a wide swath of red states as well--"evidence," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes, "that he is almost...

The Anatomy of Fear, and Its Effect on the Economy

The technology that transmits odors and fragrances digitally is still in the very early stages of development. But on Monday, Oct. 6, the whiff of fear emanating from the television was overwhelming. James Cramer, CNBC star, ex-hedge-fund manager, mascot of the 1990s tech boom and the recent bull market, was throwing up his hands. "There's always a bull market somewhere" has long been one of his signature lines. But Cramer admitted to the "Today" show's Ann Curry that "somewhere" was now nowhere to be found. "Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now, this week," he pleaded. "I do not believe that you should risk those assets in the stock markets." (Article continued below...)In the ensuing days, many investors—professional and amateur alike—took Cramer's advice. As a series of global convulsions shook markets from New York to Tokyo, and all points in between, thestock markets plummeted, with the S&P ending the week...

Japanese Markets Crash

Japan has little tie to America's toxic securities, but its market melted down anyway, as fear ran wild.

Women Leaders Share Trade Secrets

After years in the trenches, these women have learned a few things about what it takes to succeed. Here, they share some savvy trade secrets.

IMF Sets Up New Database of Financial Crises

As world leaders try to restructure the global financial system, it's worth reflecting on how we got to this point. A new database created by economists at the IMF tracks financial crises over the last 30 years, and it may come as a surprise that the world has had 124 of them during that time. The good news is that most were isolated in only one of three sectors—banking, currency or sovereign debt—and many involved the usual emerging-market basket cases, like Argentina and Turkey. The bad news: the number of crises has been on the rise since the early 1990s, and shows no sign of stopping. "Financial deregulation and the increase in global capital flows have definitely increased the number of crises, even as they've increased wealth," says coauthor Luc Laeven. "But we all contributed to the current situation by racking up credit cards and buying bigger houses." Moderation, not overregulation, he says, is the cure.

So Much for Bush's 'Ownership Society'

Remember the ownership society? President George W. Bush championed the concept when he was running for re-election in 2004, envisioning a world in which every American family owned a house and a stock portfolio, and government stayed out of the way of the American Dream.These families were, of course, conservative, or at a minimum traditional and nuclear, consisting of a heterosexual married couple and at least two kids living in a stand-alone home with a yard, a car or two and a multimedia room with a flat-screen television. The latter was a new addition to this 21st-century simulacrum of the 1950s "Leave It to Beaver" idyll. But the dream was the same.Such a country would be more stable, Bush argued, and more prosperous. "America is a stronger country every single time a family moves into a home of their own," he said in October 2004. To achieve his vision, Bush pushed new policies encouraging homeownership, like the "zero-down-payment initiative," which was much as it sounds—a...

The End of the Ownership Society

Remember the ownership society? It was a vision woven by President George W. Bush when he was running for re-election in 2004, which saw every American family in a home, and a government that stayed out of the way of the American Dream. The families were, of course, conservative, or at a minimum traditional and nuclear, consisting of a heterosexual married couple and at least two kids living in a stand-alone home with a yard, a car or two and a multimedia room with a flat-screen television. OK, so the latter was a new addition, a 21st-century simulacrum of the 1950s "Leave It to Beaver" idyll. But the dream was the same.The goal was to secure stability and prosperity, and the ownership dream was the way to achieve that. "America is a stronger country every single time a family moves into a home of their own," said Bush in a speech back in October 2004. To achieve that vision, Bush pushed new policies encouraging homeownership, such as the "zero-down-payment initiative," which was...

Zakaria: A More Disciplined America

The crisis has forced the United States to confront bad habits developed over the past few decades. If we can kick those habits, today's pain will translate into gains.

The Candidates' Economic Gurus

Obama and McCain have taken different tacks to handling the meltdown. It's not by accident. How their economic gurus shape their views.

Fashion: More Attention on the Back of Dresses

Dresses drawing attention to the back—with intricate, eye-popping and whimsical details—were part of more than a dozen spring '09 presentations at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. "Every season, there's a different erogenous zone," says Carmen Marc Valvo, who unveiled a black gown with thin straps that merged in a basket weave on the small of the back. Nanette Lepore's red dress had five vertical strips that played peekaboo with a model's back. Veteran Max Azria and wunderkind Narciso Rodriguez revealed gowns that can be likened to mullets: business in the front, party in the back, with thick straps flowing in all directions. Andy & Debb, a Korean husband-wife duo who made their debut appearance on the New York catwalk, presented a cream dress with a row of diamond shapes. "The idea that New York is a melting pot—that applies to fashion," says Joe Zee, creative director of Elle. Backward thinking applies only to the dresses.

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