The following are some thought-provoking articles I have read over the past few days that readers may also find of interest:

• John Hussman (Hussman Funds): Banks pass stress test - regulators fail ethics test, May 11, 2009.
In short, these bailouts are emphatically not neutral to society as a whole, because they damage incentives and divert productive resources into hands that have proven themselves to be reckless and incapable. To believe that the bailouts are just money we owe to ourselves is to overlook serious ethical implications, as well as distributional and incentive effects.

• Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Telegraph): Enjoy the rally while it lasts - but expect to take a sucker punch, May 10, 2009.
Our delicious spring rally is nearing the limits. The 40% rise on global bourses since March assumes that central banks have conjured away the debt overhang by slashing rates to zero and printing money. Nothing of the sort has occurred. Two thirds of the world economy will be in deflation by July.

• Bill Gross (PIMCO Investment Outlook): 2 + 2 = 4, May 2009.

• Jeffrey Garten (Financial Times): Amid economic rubble, Shangkong will rise, May 10, 2009.
As New York and London nurse serious wounds, a partnership between Shanghai and Hong Kong could shift financial gravity to the east.

• Joseph Stiglitz (Project Syndicate): The spring of the Zombies, May 8, 2009.
Every downturn comes to an end. The question is how long and deep this downturn will be. In spite of some spring sprouts, we should prepare for another dark winter: it's time for Plan B in bank restructuring and another dose of Keynesian medicine.

• The Economist: Stresses and strains, May 8, 2009.
Stress tests on America's banks have set the bar for minimum capital too low.

• Paul Krugman (The New York Times): Stressing the positive, May 7, 2009.

• Paul Kagame (Financial Times): Africa has to find its own road to prosperity, May 7, 2009.
The cycle is durable: as long as poor nations are focused on receiving aid they will not work to improve their economies.

• Martin Wolf (Financial Times):Central banks must target more than just inflation, May 5, 2009.
Over almost three decades, policymakers became ever more confident they had found, in inflation targeting, the holy grail of fiat (or man-made) money. Today, they are struggling with the deepest recession since the 1930s and the danger of deflation. How can it have gone so wrong?

• Willem Buiter (Financial Times): What's left of central bank independence? May 5, 2009.
So I conjecture that central banks are facing a choice: remain relevant to crisis prevention and resolution, but lose much of your independence, or remain independent and become irrelevant.

• Andy Xie (Financial Times): If China loses faith the dollar will collapse, May 4, 2009.
America's short-term economic policy is pushing Beijing towards developing an alternative financial system.

• Helaine Olen (The Big Money): The end of personal finance, May 3, 2009.
Decades of advice turn out to be so much garbage.

• Dick Bove (Rochdale Securities): The bureaucrat & the academic - driving the financial system to collapse?, May 2, 2009.