The social contagion of boom and bust

Economist Robert Shiller argues that a worldwide “social epidemic” of ideas is driving renewed confidence in the economy, just as it drove the crisis of confidence that seems to have bottomed in March:

Economic analysts often turn to indicators like employment, housing starts or retail sales as causes of a recovery, when in fact they are merely symptoms. For a fuller explanation, look beyond the traditional economic links and think of the world economy as driven by social epidemics, contagion of ideas and huge feedback loops that gradually change world views. These social epidemics can travel as swiftly as swine flu: both spread from person to person and can reach every corner of the world in short order.

See Economic View – An Echo Chamber of Boom and Bust – NYTimes.com

How I spent my summer

Here is the press release for the recent merger of Knowledge Computing Corporation and i2 Ltd. I was part of KCC’s lead investor group and served as Chairman of the Board until the merger:

Coplink logoTucson, Ariz., July 17 — Knowledge Computing Corporation (KCC), KCC, the premier provider of crime-fighting solutions to leading edge law enforcement agencies nationwide, and makers of the award winning COPLINK Solution Suite®, announced today that it has completed its merger with i2, the premier provider of visual analysis software. “This is a historic event in the company’s evolution” said Robert Griffin former President/CEO of KCC and CEO of newly merged companies, “together; our ability to provide our clients a complete lifecycle solution from the tactical officer through the intelligence community and beyond is unsurpassed in the market. As to what this means for Tucson, KCC plans to retain its operations here and continue to expand them.”

“Our key decision was to focus on the law enforcement market,” CEO Griffin said, “which was struggling with outdated technology that was preventing vital information from getting to the right people in a timely manner. Our mission from day one was to become the leader in providing investigative assistance from the field officer to the command staff with the goal of helping them solve crimes with maximum speed and efficiency.”

Since 2003, KCC’s lead investor has been an affiliate of Tucson real estate and investment firm Diamond Ventures, Inc. “We’re always on the lookout for promising local software and technology companies with the potential to become world-class competitors,” said Tucson business lawyer Robert Fortuno, who oversees technology investments for Diamond Ventures and served as Chairman of KCC’s Board of Directors before the merger. “KCC was a perfect fit—innovative software addressing the critical needs of a market of vital importance to all of us, and a strong, experienced management team capable of achieving results.” Fortuno went on to say, “With new ventures like KCC emerging on the local scene every day, there are lots of interesting companies germinating in our back yard.”

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Text of the bailout and stimulus bills

Here are links to the official versions of the bailout and stimulus bills, as signed into law:

  • The bailout bill—which is officially titled the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” (enacted October 3, 2008):
  • The stimulus bill—which is officially titled the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (enacted February 17, 2009):