The non-American Swaps Dealers Association

ISDA will soon become NASDA, at least if the US bankruptcy courts have anything to do with it. First the background: the way ISDA contracts should work is that if one party to them suffers a termination event, the whole portfolio of derivatives between the two parties terminates, with one net payment being due. Termination […]

Ghost of bad journalism refuses to fade

Could another Gillian Tett-style disaster shake financial journalism again? It is not an entirely idle question. This month, there has been plenty of hand-wringing from those who built a career on the Lehman Brothers collapse. But behind the scenes the issue of bad journalism – and journalists inability to understand the credit derivatives market – […]

Leaving google

Used to be I could drive up to Barstow for the night Find some crossroad trucker To demonstrate his might But these days it seems Nowhere is far enough away So I’m leaving Las Vegas today I don’t think I have ever been to Barstow – and my acquaintance with truckers is slight – but […]

WordPress first impressions

WordPress is the ferociously efficient PA you always wished you had.  Download, unpack, edit the install file, go.  It really was astonishingly easy.  The only hard part was associating the subdomain, blog.rivast.com, with the right physical IP so that the world could see it.  It’s A, not CNAME – and the host manages the subdomain […]

Bring a problem parties – speed therapy

Sometimes, when you are talking to someone, you come on an idea that makes so much sense you are surprised that it has not been thought of before. Often these ideas are not anyone’s in particular: they emerge somehow in the conversation. Bring a problem parties are an idea like that. To begin with, three […]

A manifesto

I suspect that some, perhaps a preponderance, of my readers are not of my political persuasion. So you might well disagree with the following. But with an election less than a year away, I wanted to write down the core of the manifesto I would propose if I had a big say in a political […]

Keynesian traps and flooding the building

A frequent correspondent sent me a link to Phillip’s Economic Computer, a wonderful analogue device designed to illustrate the flow of money within the economy. And that got me thinking… A very rough and brutal sketch of Keynes’ classical account of the savings trap is that if people save too much, rather than consume, then […]

One of the many reasons I am depressed

Barry Ritholtz writes: I believe the brain trust behind the Obama White House has made a huge tactical error. As Rahm Emmanuel likes to say, one should “never waste a crisis” — and the White House has done just that… There was widespread popular support for a full reform of finance. What the White House […]

Adair dares, and other unlikely tales, updated

The headline, of course, should have been British bank watchdog states the blatantly bleeding obvious, but I suppose that is a little more sensational than Financial Services Authority chairman backs tax on ‘socially useless’ banks. Still, most observers would agree with Lord Turner that much financial activity is socially useless; that the banking sector is […]

HRbots and the false comfort of quantification

One of my favourite cartoon characters is the evil HR director Catbert, from the Dilbert series. Catbert epitomises the Machiavellian intrigues and Catch 22s that epitomise the HRarchy. The character would be funny if she wasn’t so accurate. Catbert immediately to mind when I read a Netflix presentation on their corporate values (hat tip Felix […]