The Early Days of a Better Nation

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stimulus and response

Pic: today's FTSE, from the BBC.

Well, that shot in the arm seems to have worn off real fast. Every day or two, the governments or the banks do something unprecedented to calm the nerves, and the traders are all relieved until they think, 'Hang on, that means things are worse than we thought!' and suddenly they're singing 'My Heart Will Go On' again. And then the next fix comes along.

A couple more of weeks of this and Alasdair Darling will announce that everybody now has a land grant on the Moon, and there'll be maybe five hours of lunatic speculation before shares dip again. The week after that, Henry Paulson will announce that from now on all currencies will be based on the Higgs boson and traded at the Large Hadron Collider, and all will go swimmingly until somebody thinks, 'Wait a minute, does that mean there's something weak about the quark?' and from then on it's just dark matter all the way down.


The big banks are trying to hold things together. It's not an unreasonable goal, when one considers the alternatives. All very well to talk of the crisis that leads to revolution, but I think it's "Everyone wants to go to heaven, and no-one wants to die" time.

The simile of peeing in your pants seem very relevant here. (OK, they must have drunk some SERIOUS amounts of lager ...) It's cold, they pee in their pants to get warmer, and indeed it gets warmer for a little while, until the pee is cool and it actually gets even cooler, and so they pee over again ...

Or in plainer words: The "solution" is the problem!

It makes me kind of wonder...

... I think they could be suckered into cheering for Bolshevism for a week or so, until they caught on they wouldn't be needed at the central bureau.

What's the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon?

A pigeon can still put a deposit on a Porsche.

I wonder if all the buyouts and mergers could be an example of wealth condensation (pdf of quoted paper). Admittedly there does seem to have been a general loss of 'wealth', but guess it's the share of it that matters more.

How does the Large Hadron Collider resemble the financial market?

They cost billions and neither of them work. (on the other hand, compared to the activities of investment backers in the securities field, spending billions on a very large, circular hole in the ground seems almost sensible).

Your proposal would make Darling The Man Who Sold the Moon, wouldn't it?

'You've got to be a believer'.

And the wife just suggested that the original mortgages were chopped so fine that the entire market's in a state of quantum entanglement.

Not strictly true, but meant as a metaphor in any event.

(In true quantum finance, you're allowed to assume that you've got an arbitrarily large amount of money for a correspondingly small amount of time...if only.)

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