Oh I do love to be beside the sea side

Willem Buiter took a month off from his FT blog, and I think I am going to follow that lead, so expect something in September. Meanwhile, here’s some coastline.

This collateral smells a bit off

From Bloomberg: The vaults of Credito Emiliano SpA hold the pungent gold prized by gourmands around the world — 17,000 tons of parmesan cheese. The regional bank accepts parmesan as collateral for loans… [its] two climate-controlled warehouses hold about 440,000 wheels worth 132M Euros… The bank offers loans for as long as 24 months, equal […]

Excess Liquidity

Ian Campbell, on breakingviews.com, has a nice statement of a view I have had for a while. in their anti-deflationary fervour, central banks may be creating more money than depressed economies require. The surplus creates “excess liquidity” – which may be feeding a new series of stock, commodity, property and bond bubbles… Sebastian Becker, an […]

Monoline Death Watch

Felix Salmon discusses some recent JPM research on MBIA: in a note issued this morning they said that MBIA’s tangible book value is actually negative, to the tune of about -$40 per share. OK, the full article has some caveats. But the mere fact that a reputable investment bank (if that is not an oxymoron) […]

Reasons to stay flat?

From Morgan Stanley. I find this a reasonable one slide account of where the equity markets are, but that’s just a personal take.

Controlling complex systems

From an entirely different context, a rather useful metaphor for what happens when you get the rules of the system right: attempts at self-control result in a competition between independent processes and that the amount of top-down control biases the competition appropriately I am increasingly of the view that neuroscience has more useful things to […]

Inefficient Units of Currency

By Joseph Streckert, from the Canadian literary magazine McSweeney’s: Children Millstones Imaginary euros* Copies of Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 7** Pieces of long-grain rice that are not actually very long Unicorn heads Canadian dollars *Arguably, the ECU (which worked perfectly well as a currency) was imaginary. **Vol. 7 is I suspect now […]

The notable glibness with which the writer throws off chains of causation

I have nothing to say, really, I just wanted to repeat a lovely phrase from the comments to the post before last. Things here will be slow and less finance-oriented here for a little while for two reasons: firstly, I have been intending to move this blog away from blogger for some time, and I […]


A lovely rant from Jenny Diski on the LRB blog: … I’m left wondering what the word ‘creative’ means to people who can overcome difficulty by just being creative. It seems to be like an ingredient that’s available down the shops. If it’s necessary, you’ll get some and use it. Need to produce something? ‘Oh, […]

Deprogramming Obama

A nice slant from Salon: the president is a prisoner of the cult of neoliberalism.

Don’t judge me

Paul Krugman has a post entitled Rewarding bad actors. He takes the view that two situations – the profits from high frequency trading at Goldman (and presumably elsewhere) and the payout to Andrew Hall at Citi’s Philbro arm – are undesireable. The common thread, he says, is in both cases we’re looking at huge payouts […]

Come backs

Just don’t do it. That’s surely the lesson we learn from sporting comebacks. Lance could only manage third in the TdF – a creditable showing, but hardly the position he was used to. With luck, Michael Schumacher will be similarly unable to reprise his form of years gone bye. As Kevin Mitchell wrote in Sunday’s […]

Discrete, discreet trading

One of the things I was concerned with many moons ago is the difference between the types of behaviours you can get in discrete and continuous time. Continuous functions are funky beyond belief, and the less you have to reason about them, generally the better. (For a sample of some of the pathologies, see this […]