Bologna is where red ideas and business thinking collide

I’m currently visiting Bologna for a couple of days. Sort of an academic trip, I’m having a presentation on patents & standards and seeing what’s up in Italy in the first place.

I see Bologna has tons of red buildings. This city is also famous for red ideas. As a case in point, yesterday a noisy student (?) street demonstration passed my hotel. This inspires me to continue my work with mapping the public domain… but on the other hand here at the department of management I feel like traditional American values rule and red ideas are not in fashion…

Regulator’s dilemma

Latest Economist summarizes elegantly the problem of the regulator:

The tempting answer is to try to wriggle free from the dilemma with a compromise that would permit innovation but exert just enough control to squeeze out financial failure. It is a nice idea; but it is a fantasy… They are paid less than those they oversee. They know less, they may be less able, they think like the financial herd, and they are shackled by politics. In an open economy, business can escape a regulatory squeeze in one country by skipping offshore. Once a bubble is inflating many factors conspire to discourage a regulator from pricking it.

The article talks about financial markets. I’d say the same applies to almost any markets where the regulator has a major role. Take for example intellectual property or consumer protection.

US elections as a stock market

So it wasn’t quite over like I thought a month ago. Clinton came back – for a moment. I still believe Obama wins dem nomination and the eventual race against McCain. But that’s just my belief. What the last month shows more than anything else is the fact that US elections have a close resemblance to stock markets. Booms, busts, unpredictability, everything. Fundamentals do matter, but not much.

Who is the runner-up?

It seems that the remaining issue in US presidential elections in November is the name of the republican runner-up. Hard to imagine anyone beating Obama – only himself perhaps with a personal scandal or something.

Meanwhile, the Finnish press continues to focus its reporting on the Clinton campaign regardless of its merits. When do they wake up and start writing about stuff that matters?