The Fed’s “doomsday book”

Secret, centralized power is at odds with the individualistic direction of business today.

What doomsday looks like: a nuclear test by the Americans at Bikini Atoll in 1946, as a part of Operation Crossroads. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Each morning, this series shares excerpts from the day’s Wall Street Journal, with added context for blockchain investors and enthusiasts. Subscribe here.

One man show: The supremely powerful general counsel of the Federal Reserve is leaving his post after 36 years. Scott Alvarez is sometimes referred to as the honorary “8th governor” of the central bank, and the Journal says his power is trumped only by his secrecy. In an op-ed today, a Wharton professor cites one example: “For example, the Fed has a notorious document called the ‘Doomsday Book’ that is a collection of legal opinions to justify the Fed’s authority if extraordinary measures are required during the next financial crisis.” The book’s existence was disclosed in litigation, says the article. “Is the central bank’s interpretation of its congressionally-granted authority justified?” the article asks. We’ll never know, as attorneys in banking and academia are not permitted to check the Fed’s legal work, leading to an environment of “little outside accountability.” What could go wrong?

Influencer marketing: NBA players may soon be allowed to market apparel with their own names, without their team logo. In the past, the league acted as de facto brand manager for players, controlled licensing deals for players. But the National Basketball Players Association believes “the main area of opportunity is clothing and other merchandise that doesn’t include team logos or NBA trademarks, such as t-shirts, caps, and bobbleheads.” Players’ unions can pool fees from such deals and put it towards litigation with the league, if negotiations go sour in the future. First YouTube and Instagram, and now the NBA? In a marketing flip-flop, individuals are beginning to outshine the brands that deliver them to audiences. The marketing funnel as we know it is being irrevocably altered.

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