Friday, January 23, 2009

"The End of the Financial World as We Know It"

A famous investor recommends this NYT article. A great read indeed on the tyranny of the short term, moral hazard, the role played in the current crisis by rating agencies and regulators such as the S.E.C. I did not know that "The commission’s most recent director of enforcement is the general counsel at JPMorgan Chase; the enforcement chief before him became general counsel at Deutsche Bank; and one of his predecessors became a managing director for Credit Suisse before moving on to Morgan Stanley." The authors use great images:
On the suspension of "mark to market" accounting: "gorge yourself for months, but refuse to step on a scale, and maybe no one will realize you gained weight"
On credit-default swaps: "Call it insurance if you like, but it’s not the insurance most people know. It’s more like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house, possibly for many times the value of that house — from a company that probably doesn’t have any real ability to pay you if someone sets fire to the whole neighborhood."

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