Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Zeitgeist analysis, 31 May 2009

Today's top new entry in the economics zeitgeist is Sotomayor, the new nominee for Supreme Court justice, at 295. Most of the discussion about her seems to be about how controversial most of the discussion about her is. Supreme and Sonia are popular too.

GM of course rises up the ranks, a 580 place jump to 197 (bankruptcy, court and administration are up there as well). The only other company in the listings is Google which perhaps I should not count, on the same basis as Bloomberg and WSJ: that they are media companies whose names just appear in links or quotations of news stories.

The only other personal name is Eipper, who's the editor of the WAIS service at Adrian College, discussed in earlier weeks. Those people do have a prodigious output. However, I have doubts about whether they're really an economics blog and I might remove them from the list at some point. Plus, the name shows up only because it's in the footer of every message, not because the content actually discusses it. It also leads to some further oddities like the word "double-clicking" being unusually popular.

In moves at the top, government is up and so is policy; economy, price and money are down. As usual the big jumps don't start until slightly further down the list: energy is up 26 to 24, Fed up 113 to 26, home up 125 to 58, sales and Treasury both up 149.

Apart from energy, other natural resources are mostly upwards: water up 123 to 104, gas up 32 to 245, carbon up 75 to 272. Oil however is down 7 - perhaps because last week the rise in oil prices was more dominant than this week's discussion of the Waxman-Markey bill.

Violating a basic law of the markets, bonds and yields are both up at the same time, while violating a basic law of politics, growth and GDP are down while aid is up. Denmark usually gets the credit for this kind of thing, but they aren't in the list today - the usual suspects (UK, Japan, German - but not Germany) are there, spookily all between 610 and 620. Perhaps depressingly, US remains at number 3, with 952 occurrences compared to 95 for each of the other three. Europe has slightly more (96, position 612) with European beating it at 152 (position 347). China is well above all the Europeans at position 286, with India dropping to 725 this week. Even California is more popular than any actual country outside of the United States.

Newly qualified economics graduates may note with disappointment that banking is down while university is up. But you should be OK for a while, with plenty of people desperate to have your help analysing what has just happened in the economy and finance sector. The UK Treasury apparently wants to hire 70 people from the investment banking sector to help it figure out what went wrong and stop it happening again.

A final note for old-school lefties: workers are up 30 while management is down 25. Oddly, France is nowhere to be seen...

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