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.