Disastrous Capitalism

Cast your mind back to April…

The International Monetary Fund Monday proposed the sale of 403.3 tonnes of gold to bolster its sagging coffers as part of a wide-ranging financial overhaul. The sale, amounting to some 12 percent of its gold reserves, could yield around 11 billion dollars, IMF officials said, supporting a reorganization of the institution as it seeks to survive a downturn in lending to troubled countries.

The announcement comes with the IMF in the midst of an intense effort to trim costs and slash jobs as its lending is scaled back, with some countries refusing the IMF’s conditional aid.

Well thank jeebus for crises eh?

Asian and European leaders today called for more international regulation and a stronger role for the International Monetary Fund in response to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Regulation? Well even neocon Sarko sees the need-

Sarkozy has told China that he fears the US would be content if the summit produced “principles and generalities”, according to a French presidential official.

Wen said the right balance had to be struck between regulation and innovation, but added: “We need financial innovation, but we need financial oversight even more.”

But Bush-

In his remarks, Bush warned against taking a protectionist turn in response to the current financial turbulence, saying free markets and free trade were fundamental to long-term economic growth.

Hilariously dumb as ever, but the money shot is-

The IMF is in negotiation with several countries to provide emergency loans and the list of countries asking for help is growing quickly. Pakistan has had to go cap in hand to the IMF, but supposedly strong economies in the developing world such as Brazil, Turkey and South Africa have also had to turn to the IMF.

Officials in Washington said those economies that qualify for a proposed new liquidity fund from the IMF could be eligible for an unusually high level of financing. Although the details of the package were not finalised, the plan,, which may offer countries up to five times their IMF quota, could be approved as soon as next week.

It would allow certain emerging market economies to exchange local currencies for US dollars to ease short-term credit strains.

In other words they are making sure the dollar is too ‘big to fail’ even as Washington fights reforms to the system that caused this. Hmmm.

The Duplicate Study Scam

The (sometimes annoying) Ben Goldacre on naughty big pharma-

So the ClinPsyc blog (clinpsyc.blogspot.com) has spotted that the drug company Lilly has published identical data on duloxetine – a newish antidepressant drug – twice over, in two entirely separate scientific papers.

The first article is from the January 2008 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, a study which concludes that the “switch to duloxetine was associated with significant improvements in both emotional and painful physical symptoms of depression”. The second concluded the same thing.

ClinPsyc went through both papers and checked all the numbers in the data tables, finding that they were essentially identical. A few different subscales were reported in each paper, and the emphasis in the second is more on pain than depression, but other than that, this is identical data.

There are several reasons why this is interesting. Firstly, duplicate publication distorts a reader’s impression of how much evidence is out there. If you think there are two trials showing that something works, then obviously that’s much more impressive than if there’s just one. “Of course I prescribe it,” you can hear the doctors say. “I’ve seen two trials showing that it works.”

Read the rest at the grauniad. I took duloxetine briefly, I had such an adverse reaction I had to stop, which is of course just personal anecdotal testimony, it might work for some, but I’d rather gargle cold diarrhoea myself.