Monthly Archives: April 2010

Greenspan Testifies To Financial Crisis Commission, Blames Fannie, Freddie For Subprime Crisis (LIVEBLOG, VIDEO)

The U.S. banking system has been “undercapitalized” for the past “40 to 50 years,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a panel today in Washington convened to investigate the roots of the financial crisis.

In response to a question about the Fed’s failure to guard against megabanks becoming so large and interconnected that they posed a systemic risk — risks that pose threats to the entire financial system — Greenspan said the Fed wasn’t alone in that regard.

Rather, he said, everyone — the financial industry and their regulators at the Fed — failed to appropriately appreciate how badly banks were guarding themselves against risk.

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Once the Fed realized how poorly the banks’ risk management systems were, Greenspan realized how poorly they were capitalized — money, in short, that banks keep on hand to protect themselves from going under in the case of huge losses.

In fact, the banking system has been “undercapitalized” for the past “40 to 50 years,” he said.

Put another way: for the past few generations, the U.S. banking system has not been holding enough money to guard itself from insolvency, putting taxpayers at great risk in case a panic were to materialize — a lesson painfully learned in 2008.

When regulators judge banks to be undercapitalized, the banks are told to shore up their capital or shed potential sources of future losses, like sour loans or underperforming businesses. If they can’t, they’re shut down. Most of the time, it’s an open-and-shut case.

“The risk management paradigm nonetheless harbored a fatal flaw. In the growing state of euphoria, managers at financial institutions, along with regulators including but

not limited to the Federal Reserve, failed to fully comprehend the underlying size, length, and potential impact of the so-called negative tail of the distribution of risk outcomes that was about to be revealed as the post-Lehman Brothers crisis played out,” Greenspan said in his prepared remarks.

via Greenspan Testifies To Financial Crisis Commission, Blames Fannie, Freddie For Subprime Crisis (LIVEBLOG, VIDEO).

via Greenspan Testifies To Financial Crisis Commission, Blames Fannie, Freddie For Subprime Crisis (LIVEBLOG, VIDEO).

Local Exchange Trading Systems

Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) also known as LETSystems are local, non-profit exchange networks in which goods and services can be traded without the need for printed currency. In some places, e.g. Toronto, the scheme has been called the Local Employment and Trading System. Michael Linton originated the term “Local Exchange Trading System” in 1983 and, for a time ran the Comox Valley LETSystems in Courtenay, British Columbia. The system he designed was intended as an adjunct to the national currency, rather than a replacement for it, although there are examples of individuals who have managed to replace their use of national currency through inventive usage of LETS. LETS networks use interest-free local credit so direct swaps do not need to be made. For instance, a member may earn credit by doing childcare for one person and spend it later on carpentry with another person in the same network. In LETS, unlike other local currencies, no scrip is issued, but rather transactions are recorded in a central location open to all members. As credit is issued by the network members, for the benefit of the members themselves, LETS are considered mutual credit systems.

via national-currency.

via national-currency.

How to measure the absolute value of influencers. | Gather

How to measure the absolute value of influencers.

April 05, 2010 12:03 PM EDT

views: 10

What gets measured gets managed.

What gets counted gets valued.

Why are we content to use the term influencer without a quantifiable method for measuring and analyzing the impact of that social position and value?

Trends in social media are decided by influencers. Every profile is not equal. There are some people who are more influential in their ability to generate interest and channel attention. These influencers

are the rich and famous of the social media world.

Influencers control more social capital than others, and they are able to translate that virtual social capital into real world economic capital. Attention is the currency of the online economy, and

influencers control attention. But to what degree?

We analyze the relative value of an influencer but not the absolute value. We say he is more influential than she. But how influential are each of them individually?

With any currency the measurements must be precise. We do not measure the wealth of the economically rich in relative value, and we should not measure the wealth of the socially rich relatively either. An influencer’s wealth is determined by the amount of attention he/she

controls in the same way a wealthy person is measured by the amount of dollars he/she controls.

We must start measuring the amount of attention an influencer controls in order to accurately quantify his/her ability to translate social capital into economic capital.

via How to measure the absolute value of influencers. | Gather.

via How to measure the absolute value of influencers. | Gather.

How Foundations Can Prevent Populist Backlash – Give and Take – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas

How Foundations Can Prevent Populist Backlash

By Ian Wilhelm

Can foundations prevent the growing populist sentiment in America from turning on them?

Several philanthropy experts have predicted that Tea Party activists and others who are staunchly antigovernment—and in some sense antiinstitution—will eventually take aim at big grant makers that are perceived as elitist.

William A. Schambra, director of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, and Joel Orosz, a professor of philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, have said the current political environment reminds them of the 1950s and 1960s when lawmakers grew suspicious of foundations and imposed new regulations on them.

“Whenever the populist gale is blowing in America, sooner or later it blows ill for the world of philanthropy,” Mr. Schambra wrote in a Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion article.

Now in a Huffington Post article, Jane Wales, a vice president at the Aspen Institute, a think tank in Washington, says foundations need to heed these concerns and take steps to soften the possible backlash.

She says grant makers should do more to tell the public about what they are doing to benefit the country.

“No institution is being given a pass, particularly one that is seen as opaque while claiming to advance the public good,” she writes. “‘Trust us’ has never been an adequate response to doubters.”

She notes that other philanthropy leaders have urged foundations to show how they are responding to the downturn in the economy.�

via How Foundations Can Prevent Populist Backlash – Give and Take – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas.

via How Foundations Can Prevent Populist Backlash – Give and Take – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas.

IMPACT: Coaching for Transformation

We recently started questioning our Theory of Change philosophy, which used to be an individual program-driven in-house tool and is now being envisioned as a collaborative sector methodology that avoids needless duplication of effort.

Now is the time to also review the way we evaluate impact and take the process to the level of issue-driven ecosystems.

“With growing ambition yet shrinking resources, funders are increasingly interested in the collaborative impact of multiple grantees working together around a common goal,” writes this week’s host, Lakshmi Karan.

This cluster approach brings opportunities for social entrepreneurs, but there are challenges in trying to measure systems change and the power of collective investments. Join Lakshmi Karan, the Skoll Foundation’s Director of Impact Assessment and Learning, in a conversation that is taking place first on Social Edge then at the 2010 Skoll World Forum.

via Fw: IMPACT « Coaching for Transformation.

via IMPACT: Coaching for Transformation.

Conference Board study optimistic about corporate philanthropy « Blog Archive « Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Blog

Conference Board study optimistic about corporate philanthropy

By Tim Wilson

There are new signs of a light at the end of the recession tunnel for community involvement, and it is not an approaching train.

A just-released report by the Conference Board indicates that corporate strategy, not budget concerns, is setting the philanthropy agenda at companies this year.

“ The 2010 Philanthropy Agenda: Is the Pressure Easing?” is based on a survey of 114 companies this past December and January about planned changes to their corporate giving programs. (The report is available only to Conference Board members.) More than 75 percent of survey respondents said that they would make no recession-driven changes to their 2010 corporate giving programs. Instead, strategic priorities such as aligning more closely with business needs are driving decisions on contributions.

While 53 percent of companies cut giving budgets in 2009, just 20 percent plan reductions this year according to the survey. And only 4 percent of companies plan to reduce the size of their giving staff, compared with 18 percent in 2009. The survey also found a growing recognition by companies that employees are their most effective community involvement assets.� Resources devoted to volunteering programs will be increased by most companies in 2010, as they were in 2009 and event sponsorship will see the most decreases.

via Conference Board study optimistic about corporate philanthropy « Blog Archive « Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Blog.

via Conference Board study optimistic about corporate philanthropy « Blog Archive « Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Blog.