Category Archives: ECONNED

Price is Not Value, and Other Reasons Metrics Mislead

Economists have been rewarded all too well for fetishing numbers and mathematics. The self-conscious effort within the discipline to turn it into a science (a goal most real scientists would deem to be impossible, given the fickle nature of human behavior), which meant making it more mathematical, has resulted in economists being better paid than […]

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“Innovation” and the Social Purpose of Financial Services

We’ve pointed out from time to time that the financial services industry has lost sight of its role. While helping companies borrow and raise money, providing investment and saving vehicles and payment services are all useful activities, the cost of financial intermediation is ultimately a tax on commerce. Perversely, some businessmen complain bitterly about how […]

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Auerback: The ECB is the New “United States of Europe”

By Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist and fund manager Wolfgang Munchnau is right. Only a closer union can save the euro. In the longer term, it will be necessary to put in place a permanent fiscal arrangement through which the central euro zone authorities distribute funds to be used by member nations. Ideally this should […]

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SEC Investigates Magnetar, Sponsor of CDO Program That Pumped Up the Subprime Bubble

Readers of this blog may know that we broke story in our book ECONNED of the role that the hedge fund Magnetar played in increasing the severity of the subprime bubble through its program of hybrid CDOs (meaning composed of actual tranches of subprime bonds plus credit default swaps). To recap: Magnetar embarked on an […]

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“Death of an Economic Paradigm”

This post appeared as an op-ed in Mint, India’s second largest business newspaper. The financial market upheaval that started in May is a stark reminder that the conditions that produced the global financial crisis of 2007-08 have not been resolved. The sucking sound of deflation emanating from Europe and the creaking of bank balance sheets […]

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PR Push Against Strategic Defaulters Underway (Is There a Debtors’ Prison in Your Future?)

A good Washington DC contact told me that a public relations/media push to demonize those who decide to walk away from mortgages they can still afford to pay (aka “strategic defaulters”) is underway. Expect to see a good bit of moral fervor as those who choose to cut their losses are attacked as immoral, irresponsible, […]

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New York Times Runs Yet Another Banking Industry Propaganda Piece

I know the headline above verges on “dog bites man” but the New York Times story, “In Louisville, View of Banks’ Role in the Everyday” is pure financial services industry PR masquerading as Norman Rockwellesque treacle. I know Fridays in the summer are usually slow news days, and the Grey Lady might occasionally have to […]

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Satyajit Das: Even More Crunch-Porn and Crash Lit

By Satyajit Das, a risk consultant and author of Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives – Revised Edition (2010, FT-Prentice Hall). Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff (2009) This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly; Princeton University Press, London Raghuram G. Rajan (2010) Fault Lines: How […]

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Guest Post: Default, Please

By Bob Goodwin, a medical device entrepreneur Yves here. Bob’s post highlights a shift in attitudes that is entirely logical and is the inevitable result of financial firms, taking an increasingly predatory posture toward their customers. Borrowers are responding in kind, by taking a cold-blooded and legalistic look at their agreements with lenders. Banks may […]

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No Criminal Charges Against AIG Execs

Hhhm, are investigations disappearing into the night just like FDIC resolutions, Friday night massacres so as not to upset the great unwashed public? Joe Cassano, head of AIG’s Financial Products Group and individual most responsible for the insurer’s collapse, will not be prosecuted. Per the Wall Street Journal: Federal prosecutors will not bring criminal charges […]

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Were the Ratings Agencies Duped Rather than Dumb?

The line of thinking that underlies an investigation by New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo is a challenge to conventional wisdom about the financial crisis. The prevailing view is that since credit ratings were one of the single biggest points of failure in the crisis, the ratings agencies were one of the biggest, if not […]

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Frank Partnoy Has Bad Day, Attacks Goldman Persecution in Financial Times

Frank Partnoy, derivatives salesman turned law professor, took an ill fated star turn in the Financial Times today. In a comment titled, “Goldman is wrong target for official censure,” he writes (among other things): “Goldman is not to blame for the financial crisis,” a straw man if I ever saw one. I hate to say […]

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Richard Smith: Another Nail in the “Hoocoodanode” Defense

By Richard Smith, a London-based capital markets IT specialist Here’s someone with his head screwed on, back in April 2007, who proves singlehandedly that “hoocoodanode” was no defense for failing to anticipate the implosion of the shadow banking system (more on this prescient analyst in due course): For several years now, we have marvelled at […]

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