Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ben, Ben, ...

Moral: Wherein we consider that Big Ben really does not understand.


The big guy said yesterday, among a whole lot of other things, that he was going to keep the interest rate low for a long time. Yes, the guy is actually quite adamant that he would rather continue to sack the savers (trammel the old folks -- and hock to the hilt our future generations) than to cause the Street people (of all ilks) any grief in their daily gaming of the money system.


I have wondered motivation, truthfully, but learning that he's into index funds sort of answered the why. Not entirely, though.

Ben, you're the man. Obama could have removed , but did not remove, you when there was a chance. Are you not ever going to talk ethics to these people?

Of course, how would things have been different with someone else? We'll never know.


As as aside, being an oracle must be some type of existential peak, with most (of certain types) hanging off of the words of those who play the part, such as Big Ben and King Alan.


Nor will we have learned the lessons of taking the nationalization step when it was possible. Rather, those who feed at the money trough just got fatter. In essence, Big Ben carried on with the put that was so important to King Alan.

No doubt, there'll be some big money job awaiting Big Ben after he leaves the FED. My question to him is, will he have left the position with any improvement over the errors of the past?

Some talk about the ballooning FED balance sheet. That move has not helped the savers at all.

What is so important about the savers? Seems that the intellectuals have forgotten. It has to do with the problem of not consuming beyond some sustainable threshold. There are many ways to characterize this, however my explanation will start from the necessity of simple living.

Of course, I'll have lost the interest of the fat cats immediately, since their whole world view is based upon taking (by definition, divinely ordained), luxuriating upon the backs of the many, and much more.


I know that these are age-old problems. Also, Big Ben is on the hot seat. And, he has to worry about the reaction when he leaves the position (King Alan was perturbed that his name was taken in vain, for instance) where he will then be exposed to serious ex post facto scrutiny.


However, too, how can we get away from funny money that is so easily aerated?


12/13/2012 -- Don't know how long this page will be there, Daily Ticker. But, when I looked, 69% had said 'no' (hurt rather than helped) as to whether Ben has helped.

10/24/2012 -- Ben is sticking to his guns. Lucy people like myself will continue to pay through the nose. Thanks, big guy.

04/03/2012 -- Response 1.

03/23/2012 -- Ben is doing a series of four lectures on his, and the FED's, role.

01/27/2012 -- Ben will continue to sack the savers; he must love the ca-pital-sino.

12/05/2011 -- Now, he's giving money to Europe, on the backs of our savers.

09/27/2011 -- Yes, Ben, keep steering us toward those who pick the pockets.

08/03/2011 -- Today, the DOW is at 11.7K (hey, let it go to 8K) at mid-morning. Ah, whatirrationality lurks? Yet, Big Ben wants to continue to sack the savers while being ultra-charitable to bankers (like Jamie).

05/09/2011 -- Savers are suckers?

05/05/2011 -- Roosevelt Institute.

04/30/2011 -- FT take on the talk.

Modified: 12/13/2012

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greed vs simple living

Moral: Wherein we look at greed in a framework that ought to be familiar to Big Ben.
One question: Is greed mostly a New Testament concept? Well, there are some who use the Torah as the basis for discussing this human trait.
This could be considered Some Background II as we look how the smarties have packaged trash with the intent of selling it to us as being of value.
Why the question? I heard it said that 'greed' is largely running rampant, thereby causing havoc. I beg to differ, somewhat. Greed is always there.

So, what is different? Besides, of course, the idiocy that claims that 'greed is good' and the best and brightest are allowed to be greedy, without any limit.
Let's look at Kaku's opinion on the future. Or, we can discuss the opinions that he collected from talking to a bunch of scientists (see book).

By the way, he's the string theory guy. He makes some broad claims. And, he did this despite knowing how afar from the target have been almost all prognostications since the beginning of time.
However, Dr Michio does mention two trends. Now, remember that these are not new, in any sense, except for how we look at them.

There is the trend to peace and health (ergodic theory applies here). Then, there is that which is chaotic (which is behind the risk management mania as well as a new type of engineering).

Now, to use the Biblical thought, would that not be the angelic and demonic principles in their eternal conflict? Is it not nice that one convergence is toward worldviews that show how true are those old concepts?
One difference? As mentioned many times, mathematics and computation. And, remember that we have essentially dumbed ourselves down in order for these tools to work.

But, is not the zombie state of those entranced with the LED-lit (or other) screen not unlike some type of state of spiritual rapture? Except, we know how to quiesce this (remove the power from the device enabling the enrapture - yes, as in pull the plug).
By the way, Big Ben, all this is because of the season for both (of course, there are more than two) of the major worldviews that revolve around the Bible.
We're, today, in day three of the five gaming days. Every week, it continues. Winners and losers. Yes, people, where is the discussion of the basic truth of near zero? In fact, Big Ben's largess to the fat cats which is sacking/soaking the savers is one big example.
But, what can Big Ben do? I mentioned before that he's heavy into the equity index game. And, to think that he is expected to be independent in thinking. Anyone remember when he ran scared (yes, 2008/9 time frame) and loosened the book of our beans for the fat cats to feed on without any constraint (or, does anyone even care?).
Is it not remarkable that in 2011, we're still arguing age-old problems? Well, considering that each generation learns anew (and parents know the travails that can come from their kids -- examples abound -- some kids even exalting in trashing the past -- but, we did that as a country here (in a sense) in the revolutionary times (ah, how many atrocities could be attributed to the patriots), if we only knew?), what else can we do? Now, given the question, we'll now have to venture into these realms. You know? Big Ben does not have to care. Like King Alan, keeping those in power, and in the money, happy is sufficient for the guy.


07/22/2015 -- Some of these are, now, poster boys.

09/19/2013 -- All's not lost. Some accountants see a change that is problematic. But, first, savers are more than just risk averse; they put their actions where their mouth is by being prudent. Now, that was once considered a virtue; in fact, one could argue that it was expected for fiscal responsibility. However, some claim that accounting has removed prudence in lieu of theoretical nonsense leading to annual reports that are incomprehensible. Actually, the computer can make things such, too, so the whole bit that underpins our world seems to have been given a shaky basis (on purpose, to allow rooking the people? - or, through stupidity?). Of course, the side that argues that prudence is quaint (well, it seems to be for quants) is vocal, too. But, we have China asking prudence of Ben and the Fed?

02/12/2013 -- We ought to have nationalized these guys' playground.

10/11/2011 -- If the OWS wants specifics, there are plenty to list, such as this one. Can we only resolve the grabby-ness problem with an amendment (like the 13th) for the rights of workers (folks, employment is not unlike indentured servitude (you sign over your rights when you agree to the onerous nondisclosure rules) in many ways as it is now defined) plus a Magna Carta equivalent to give the big pants (egos) something to think about? Why is finance about greed? Rhetorical, in part, but only because those with money have defined the game. We can show how smart/non-greedy peoples can run this show, no matter how complicated some might think that it is. And, it would demonstrate what 'markets' are meant to show.

09/20/2011 -- This will be used in our constructive effort.

05/29/2011 -- Fair dealing, can that be brought back? Was it ever?

05/17/2011 -- Golden sacks (leftmost mug of the rogue table), by Rolling Stone and Daily Ticker.

05/09/2011 -- Savers are suckers?

04/21/2011 -- When 250K isn't enough? Flimflam & swindle.

04/19/2011 -- That systems thinking has led us awry is obvious. Answering why this is so is the task.

04/15/2011 -- Daily Ticker quotes the New Yorker on the wealth gap: the top 1% of Americans own 1/3rd of the country's wealth. That is, 99% share the remainder.

04/15/2011 -- The IEEE Spectrum has an article that talks game theory in an accessible manner. The example starts with the failure of Steve Jobs' demo of the new IPhone, last year, which was attributable to the many mobile hot-spots that were collected in the room. Essentially, selfish action is expected. We see this in finance where the best-and-brightest are allowed a favored spot at the trough with the result that they become fat cats. There will be a post soon on this. As these related blogs have argued for a concept which could be characterized as 'simple living' (which takes note of near zero) as that need to bring the dismal realm of the economy into a more humanly oriented state. Yes, indeed. The antithesis of the fat cat is what we need to run our markets and to care for our beans. And, those who grow to be huge giants ought not, in most ways, be honored or emulated. Lesson: for any of those who have accumulated hugely, how many bodies were left in their wake? Then, is there any amount of retribution that they could offer (yes, the philanthropist's dilemma - recompense) that would account for those who were thusly sacrificed.

04/14/2011 -- Golden sacks. Where to start on these people? 

04/14/2011 -- We ought to have nationalized the bunch. Cowtowing to them (thanks, little Timmy) reinforces their egotistical notions of their necessity and worth.

Modified 07/22/2015

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Some background I

Moral: Wherein we go back further than three hundred, or so, years ago, in order to show from whence the residue (apologies to Weierstrass) that keeps bubbles afloat.


Earlier, we looked at our-basis and how that affects our economic selves. That is, what ought to be behind how we treat our beans (current and future)? Too, how is it that the best-and-brightest get us into so much trouble? How is it that they chase after a chimera (albeit, for some, there are rewards indeed - as they get to pilfer, essentially)?

Aside: 3+ years ago, there were predictions of looming failure (we were finding the fiction in finance). There were revelations coming about of trashy tranching. We knew that the idiots had leveraged our futures, but we did not know it had been to the hilt. And, no one got slapped or jailed or even reprimanded (beyond the rogue table). Why? We'll explain that. Too, we learned some of the ways that the finance people are not class acts: George's rant, not fair, culprits, dead peasant. What we saw were people playing with our beans without getting fingered as culprits. No, looking at Jamie's attitude now, it was just business as usual.


Let's start from a real early time and leap forward. We'll go back and forth like that for a few posts. George Berkeley is the motivation, somewhat.

Ala Robinson and Poincaré, this is an appeal to the intuition. At the same time, we will not be too inconsistent (nod to Emerson). However, as the argument expands, the intent is to approach completeness as much as we can. Yet, science (the enlightened type) says that we cannot; noting, of course, that those with an operational view don't care.


By the way, finance professors, where are these types of basics covered? You know, emphasizing greed (unethics, if you would) is not it (examples abound)?


Let's go way back to Zeno (love that guy), namely his arrow paradox.

Aside: if philosophical topics are a turn-off, please read on for a just little. Why? We'll only touch on these things briefly.

The key to this notion is that it's age-old, yet the puzzle continues even to the present day. And, we intend to show that financial engineering has not resolved this issue as it ought.

For those who do not understand why all the energy gets put behind arguments of this kind, we all know that the arrow arrives at its point (with intended consequences if it's path is truth - as in, as anticipated by the slinger of the arrow - er, archer). That's taking the operational stance, somewhat. And, it really is how things get done.

Aside: Philosophers and ilk can deal in the abstract, as someone puts food on their tables. The rich can be idle, as the multitude want to, and must work. Finance folks reap ill-begotten gains because they are allowed to, as others do the real work and suffer from want. At the core of the economy are a whole lot of people doing the remarkable, under dire circumstances and straits, on a daily basis. Has any economic/finance hotshot, or system, ever looked out for the people (and, I do not mean any collection of that thing called the corporate entity to which the Court gave personhood)?


Except? Notice how things are going toward the benefit of the geeks and wizards? Why? The pervasive use of the growing computational prowess seems to be unlimited.

Yet, know this, please. At the core of computing is something very much akin to vertigo (the really insightful people know this). Too, the resolution of this deep problem rests upon the backs (and, insights, intuition -- albeit trained, and good sense) of people.

Topsy-turvy is how it has been characterized. Quasi-empiricism, by necessity, is not a bad thing to use for this.

Quants, show me any of you who are insightful in this sense. Please.


Now, coming forward, the computational progress rests upon the work of a whole lot of mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and experimenters. Tis true even now, to wit, the profusion of apps (and related effort) upon frameworks that have come out of ideas that were outside of corporate mindset (to wit, social media and much more).

It is to the basic, and residual, effects that we are going to put our attention here.


But, we have to set the context such that we can build a picture that makes sense and that suggests how to proceed.

Is this not what we see within the economic realm? Things start, bubble, and then collapse (see
George Berkeley - ghost of departed quantities, indeed)
, as we are all so aware of, given the past few years. And, the effects will linger a long time. Does it have to be that way?


In order to build the right mindset, we jumped back to Zeno. We'll now jump forward to George Berkeley (mentioned above) who argued the idealist position. Now, don't get upset with George (after all, we have a University, in California, named after him), as I've heard a philosopher of science argue that the table that we were sitting at did not exist. Of course, he was using the modern parlance and talking boundary conditions. Too, I have heard modern versions of Zeno's thinking casted as jokes for engineers.

Where we are going with this is that there is a strong, trainable, human intuition that has been given no (or little) attention in business schools (actually, the western world's view has thrown this out, for the most part -- except that it has not, rather only a few are allowed to dabble -- we'll get into the necessary role of the autodidact, to boot).

Aside: A few years ago, most enrollments were in computer science. Then, it went to finance. Say what? I thought, at the time. What the hell is there in finance that is so intriguing? Oh, I must have been sleeping to miss out on the shenanigans (give me a break; who would have thought that this idiocy would even gain the light of day?). What is the goal of many students? I saw Business Week with a review (only a couple of years ago) that characterized MBA pursuers. Essentially, it said this: CEOs, we're after your jobs; everyone else, we want to make lots of money (implied: get the hell out of the way).

Of course, the argument for those who agree with this is that the high tide lifts all boats (did we not hear that a lot? Simultaneously, the set of enriched grew their assets rapidly whilst the majority sank into poverty and want. The middle class? Squeezed out, for the most part).

The trouble: each of these succeeding cycle is putting us deeper into the crapper. The past 1/2 century has seen effects multiplied on the event of a downturn. Without due attention, it'll only get worse (ah, let the banks self-police, it was said).


So, what is behind a lot of belief, and energy, that goes into bubbles (besides, of course, the aeration by the FED and the like)? We'll get back to that next time, after March Madness is over.


06/05/2012 -- We have the cause wrong?

09/21/2011 -- On Wealth and the CEO MVP.

08/30/2011 -- Essentially, we have financial piracy.

05/17/2011 -- Golden sacks (leftmost mug), by Rolling Stone and Daily Ticker.

05/03/2011 -- With George B being mentioned several times, we need to address, more fully, the notions of adequality and what it means (Katz & Katz, Robinson) in the context of modern computation and its open problems related to certain types of applications.

04/19/2011 -- Some basics need attention, to boot.

04/04/2011 -- We will get technical with things like linear logic. The numerants (opposites of the innumerants - remember the discussions of innumeracy?) have over-laid upon themselves, and us, a choking cloud of numbers that will strangle out our very human essence if we do not wake up and smell its gaseous emanations.

04/04/2011 -- Gross seems to know the bankers well. Note that Big Ben (from our pockets) gave them (while sacking the savers) oodles of free money.

04/03/2011 -- For preparation, be sure to look at the 5 issues to be addressed.

Modified 09/21/2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tranche and trash

Moral: Wherein we go back to the basics to show a few things. Yes, to three hundred, or so, years ago.


We have to set the context, first. Tranching, under the guise of securitization? Silly games. What is tranching? Why silly?


For the 'what is' part, Wikipedia has a good overview. Essentially, something that has value is cut into pieces to be sold. Each of those pieces can be rated as to risk and payback which we know are reciprocal, in a sense. That is, to the risk taker goes the spoils; this is a long running concept in the western economy, seemingly being the essence of capitalism.

In terms of rating, some type of contrivance is thought to be smart (idiotic, really). Let's say that the thing of value is low in rating (meaning, highly unlikely to be successful - okay? -- or, junk, in the words of people like Milken). Yet, tranching will attempt to lift out something that is AAA. Well, of course, that comes about from the pockets of those buying into the junk.

Not to be long winded here; look at the wiki page. But, the question has to be asked: who thought that this was a step forward? Who would buy such junk?

You see, therefore the notion of 'why silly?' comes forward?


Firstly, the whole mechanism rests upon mathematical, and technical, advances of the past three hundred years which really accelerated around the 2000 year change. These are not as unproblematic as some would allow us to believe. That, of course, relates to the quasi-empirical nature of what we can know, even by mathematics.

We can also propose that those who want this type of chimera are those in position to milk the situation, via continuation of the scam.

As an aside: is it not scary that behind the derivatives, and other, markets is just such type of flim-flam?


Secondly, the approach tries to spread risk amongst several players. Yet, the underlying basis is not improved thereby. Assume that I have $7K. If you loan me $93K, I'll have $100K to play with (this a nod to Little Jamie, as opposed to Big Ben). But, is there, for me, really any more than that $7K?

The leverage is way out of line, except if there is a certainty in winning. That, folks, is one key which we'll get back to. For now, realize that if there is loss, leveraging amplifies the downward movement.

Please note, too, that all this stuff demands some type of accountability and bookkeeping. That is another area open to manipulation (via the book cook).

Tranching would split things into various layers and get buyers (probably by some overly optimistic selling) for these. Yet, does the reality become stronger thereby?


Thirdly, the whole money system seems to be based upon this type of insanity. We have funny money (whose value come about via jaw-boning). Who has clearly shown that money cannot have a physical basis? Is not the confusion from fiat money used to exploit the situation?


Fourthly, as said before, we go from one craze to another with reality becoming more bleak for the many. Too, moral hazardousness seems to be the thing that is reward. Why? Surely, it is not because we need the distraction, as entertainment.


Fifthly, we have that which appeals to the abstractphile (lover of the ephemeral). Such as, the M & M concern. For what it's worth, Milken (see Remarks 06/17/2009) thinks that structure is important. Or, things like the ergodic hypothesis wherein we see stability as the norm.

There is no end to the source for these concepts. Are they ever put to test? And, financial engineering has not met the challenge, yet.


Hence, we will pause to use George Berkeley's thoughts which, by the way, are very much apropos. Now, Weierstrass may have banished the 'infinitesimal' in an operational sense; he did not remove the motivational dynamics. This residue, folks, is what we see now behind the madness.


08/13/2013 -- Yesterday, we mentioned that President Obama wants to change the mortgage arena.This seems like a good opportunity to start a look back. One would hope that those who are in charge of the changes know the intricacies of why we have idiots running things now. If not, we'll attempt such an analysis here. Idiots? Yes, such inconsistencies of tying up money for 30 years, at a low interest (without acknowledging that taxpayers allowed this to occur in the first place, early on for veterans coming back from WWII). There are others things like this that seem so like chasing after the perpetual-motion machine. Finance, built upon bogus money, has no way to ground itself, essentially. So, let's start with Investors II.

02/12/2013 -- We ought to have nationalized these guys' playground.

06/05/2012 -- We have the cause wrong?

05/28/2011 -- Tranche on tranche, okay! If it has become apparent, this blog tries to attain a sound, naturally expressed (as in phrasing that is understandable) rendition of something. Tranches, trashy as they are, were thought to be some epitome of the best-and-brightests' schooling in mathematics (hence, flim-flam). Give us a break!

05/26/2011 -- This post appears to merge the concepts of leveraging and tranching. Well, folks, I'll be more careful in the future, but consider that the 'lemons' article talks about CDOs being built upon CDOs being built upon CDOs. Okay? Can you tell me that the motivation behind tranching is not to allow further leveraging (that is, raising the multiplier)? As I was writing, I assumed a position that would try to cut through these layers, looking for the basis. That is, at any point, something would collapse to what was behind it (which would be a fractional amount). You know what? I would bet that noone can say what is the basis at any point. OR, are not willing to admit publicly for many reasons, one of which would be to not look stupid. But, the nose knows when it smells stinky stuff which this whole financial apparatus apparently is at its core. So, again, tranching is trashy in many cases. When ought it be allowed, and what would be reasonable controls?

05/24/2011 -- Lemons problem, dark pools, ... Oh, so much to look at!

04/14/2011 -- We ought to have nationalized the bunch. Cowtowing to them (thanks, little Timmy) reinforces their egotistical notions of their necessity and worth.

04/03/2011 -- On the 7% example (second bullet), some will quibble technical issues, much as multiplier effect, margins (upon what?), etc. True, enough, I'm using a broad brush. However, consider my example a gross approximation that bounds your technicalities (why? ergodics, man!). One of our problems will be defining a more solid (yes, or gaseous - based upon some type of matter) basis for how we account for wealth (and our beans) in a manner that gets away from the house-of-cards (and its gravy train). Another is the sand-box. There are many more, of course. Let's, at least, enumerate the more compelling.

04/03/2011 -- Changed the title to 'Tranche and trash' for reasons to be explained (earlier, Tranche and truth). But, first, some background.

Modified 08/13/2013

Friday, April 1, 2011

Last man

Moral: Wherein we look at one of the egos in banking. No, not Big Ben. (See Remarks 04/02/2011, about one future direction)


Jamie Dimon is at it again. Daniel Gross has a nice overview.


Okay, Jamie, I don't know much about you. That's my fault. I know people who have money in your bank, for their reasons.

You see, they are in the rank of the savers. The chimera, where Big Ben wants them to go? It's a casino, guy. But, then, you know that.

Too, you have taken in your share, as have your buddies.


The fact? You and your kind owe a whole lot to the saving type, except Big Ben has stacked things in your favor.

To what extent? Well, there are many in the saver ranks. For just one of these types of customers, you (and your ilk) are in the person's pockets for several hundreds of thousands during the time of these troubles. I'm not talking a stock-holder, either. So do the multiplication across the rank of the savers. The magnitude of what you, and yours, owe these people is tremendous indeed.

But, then, guess what? They bought your toxic assets, to boot, as taxpayers. So, it's a double-whammy, at least.


What people need to remember is that, as the news of good things come about (namely, from the sunshiny view of your type), the loss by the most conservative bunch portends more about the reality of things than do those related to the glories of the financial idiots (and politicians) who are playing games with our future.

Many of the saving group are at the stage in their lives when they cannot recover the losses that your ilk have caused, and are causing. Of course, does that mean anything to you?


Wait! Did I not hear some notion that you guys expect big returns (almost, by definition? - see Irish article below)?

Yes, we need to get finance away from its belief in aeration and perpetual motion.


Folks, remember Ireland (When Irish Eyes Are Crying) and many other countries that bought into what the idiots were selling? Jaime must want to get back upon that leveraging wagon which rolled down the slope to the crash.

Did we learn the proper lessons from all this trouble of late?


01/15/2013 -- Force quiescence on the thing, regularly.

05/10/2012 -- At least Jamie admitted that his bank lost two-thousand million in a few weeks time.

01/16/2012 -- Ah, Jamie did an "ah shucks" interview. How can one demonize him and his industry? Yes, he even talks OWS without barfing. Is he after Timmy's job?

01/13/2012 -- A re-look at this.

09/21/2011 -- On Wealth and the CEO MVP.

07/12/2011 -- Also, changed 'Jaime' to 'Jamie' (oh yes).

06/22/2011 -- This is Jamie's bank?

06/14/2011 -- Lil Jaime is at it again. Nuance'd? Give me a break.

04/27/2011 -- Oh, poor Big Ben, so misunderstood (points to a blog). Look, guy, if you had not sacked the savers, you would be looking like a hero now.

04/20/2011 -- Simple living (see Remarks 04/15/2011 - game theory), as opposed to greediness.

04/15/2011 -- Boo hoo, BofA. You've been stiffing savers for the past few years as you suckled at the big teat of the FED. That is, we gave you free money. How will you survive when Big Ben finally tries to wean you and your ilk?

04/14/2011 -- We ought to have nationalized the bunch. Cowtowing to them (thanks, little Timmy) reinforces their egotistical notions of their necessity and worth.

04/04/2011 -- Gross seems to know (link gone -- remarks to Reuters) the bankers well. Note that Big Ben (from our pockets) gave them (while sacking the savers) oodles of free money.

04/03/2011 -- Need to look at some background.

04/02/2011 -- Weierstrass did not banish the motivations behind Berkeley's concerns.

If we're going to have Adam Smith as a Prophet of capitalism, we ought to listen to a (almost) contemporary, namely George Berkeley (ghost of departed quantities, indeed). Not April (rather, another type of) fool. Imagine this. Someone letting you have $900,000 using your $100,000 house as collateral (10% rather than the 7% thought reasonable by Jamie). That, folks, is an example of the type of thinking that is integral to our current, aerated, concept of what money is, or ought to be. Now, of course, stacking debt allows a basis for the casino activity (financial) that has become so pervasive, enriching the few (those who get bailed out) while impoverishing the many (those who bail out). ... The real rub? These people believe that their crap does not stink. Let me tell you guys the truth: to high heaven, tis!

04/01/2011 -- That these are idiots is not an April fool (unfortunately).

Modified 01/20/2013