Recommended Reading: March 25, 2008

Social networking will become a ubiquitous feature of online life. That does not mean it is a business, says The Economist. “Social networking may end up being everywhere, and yet nowhere.”

Michael Skapinker at the Financial Times no longer believes in the market¬ís self-healing power. “The US Federal Reserve is providing a $US30 billion safety net to engineer the fire sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase and who knows how many more rescues there are to come? The British government has nationalized failed mortgage lender Northern Rock. This is a remarkable change after three decades in which the market appeared to be the answer to everything.”

The worst is still to come, according to Goldman Sachs. The broker is projecting $460B in subprime-related losses, almost four times the amount already disclosed. Goldman said the $460 billion in credit losses it foresees may “result in a substantial tightening in credit conditions as these institutions pull back on lending to preserve their reduced capital and to maintain statutory capital adequacy ratios.”

Bloggers at The Economist discuss the long term sustainability of earth’s human population. “Not surprisingly, the newly middle-class residents of China and India would like to begin consuming as developed nations have for some time now. And it is one thing for 800 million people to consume like westerners, and quite another for 4 billion to do so.”

Click here to see a list of the top 50 most stable and prosperous countries in the world. A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries by Jane’s Information Services has put the U.K. joint seventh in the premier league of nations with the U.S. at 22nd and Switzerland, normally associated with wealth and untouchable stability, is rated 17th.

Newly appointed “etiquette police” will be asking Japanese travellers to turn down their headphones and give up their seats for their elders and betters. The move comes amid growing concern that etiquette is losing its hallowed place in Japanese society.