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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 6, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Five non-Steve Jobs stories you need to know today

Apple’s Steve Jobs represented the best of American capitalism. He built and rescued a company rather than setting up a quick outfit meant to be sold for an early profit. He was driven by a desire to serve customers, make their lives better, and not to merely please the bean-counters and Wall Street. He wasn’t a financial swindler. Much of the Occupy Wall Street debate is over whether we will continue to have the country he grew up and thrived in, or an oligarchy that benefits the few. Be sure to check out the wonderful conversation between Jobs and Bill Gates at the All Things D conference, and Walt Mossberg’s appreciation.

All that said, the Jobs story threatens to suck all the oxygen out of the media chamber. Here are a few other important stories:

1. The eurozone crisis is getting worse, as shown by trouble at the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia. It’s turning into a bank run and there’s talk of nationalization. Dexia, a big lender to local governments, has $771 billion in assets. The GDP of Belgium is $471 billion. No wonder the European Central Bank is trying to turn on the liquidity fire hose.

2. The rate on a 30-year mortgage has fallen below 4 percent for the first time. Unfortunately, this is a sign of economic trouble. In the Great Depression, goods were cheap; people lacked the means to buy them. Don’t look for this to rescue the ailing housing market.

3. Why “start-up hubs” work. A fascinating piece by Paul Graham with lessons for Seattle.

4. The 2012 American elections aren’t the only political change that promises great economic instability ahead, writes Kenneth Rogoff of Financial Times.

5. ProPublica: What is Obama’s actual job-creation record.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The best Steve Jobs app

Genius didn’t corrupt him

In our Gilded Age

Comments | More in Banking, Entrepreneurship, Eurozone, Global economy, Housing, Interest rates, Politics and the economy

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