Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day thoughts

First, I hope for my own sake and that of my fellow countrymen and women that the decision today isn't especially close so we don't end up spending the next two months debating about hanging chads, butterfly ballots, disputed absentee ballots from military bases, or whatnot.

It appears, from what little we know so far (I'm writing a little after 9:30 AM in the east) that this will not be the case. Senator Obama seems likely to end the night with a mandate.

I'm not especially trusting of polls, but I do have a high opinion of the efficacy of prediction markets such as this one. Intrade is showing as I write that you have to pay more than 91 cents for a chance to win a dollar on the bet that Obama will become President. You can buy onto McCain's Straight Talk bandwagon for just 9 cents. It is petty clear what that means.

In terms of economic/financial policy, I suspect a Prsident Obama would go along with the rising call in Europe and East Asia for a new Bretton Woods-style conference to develop a global system for the co-ordination of monetary policies, exchange rates, etc. What would come out of such a conference? One likely result would be the formalization of a new role for the Chinese yuan as the central pillar in this new system. It is the only currency that could possibly hold the position that the US dollar once did.

That's an index of the size of the changes underway and the changes to come.

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