Eyes on the Demise

James Hamilton at Econbrowser has a post, similar to one here, about difficulties regulating amidst rapid innovation. The cases of note were the disastrous Gulf spill on the one hand, and the disastrous financial meltdown on the other.

With the help of modern technology, we can now keep an eye on both.

As I’m sure you’ve seen, BP has a live feed up to its gusher, providing a continuous video feed from a mile under the sea.

Where did they get that idea, I wonder?

Perhaps from NPR Planet Money’s round-the-clock coverage of their own “toxic asset” via Toxie Cam.  Here’s just a taste of some screenshots from their thrilling live feed:

And here’s the back story:

We bought Toxie for $1,000 earlier this year. Every month, we get a check. It’s a small piece of the payments people are making on their mortgages. And every month, more houses get foreclosed on and sold off by the bank. When enough houses get sold off by the bank, Toxie will be dead.

She’s not dead yet — but things are looking grim.

Last month, we got $72.41; so far, we’ve received a total of $449.

This month, our payment was zero dollars and zero cents. We could still get another payment next month — maybe.

So, it looks like the toxic asset really was toxic, with a payout of less than 50 cents on the dollar. On the other hand, that seems to be about what my 401K has been doing.

At any rate, video technology is clearly making the world a better place.