Monday, September 26, 2011

"ed is with the ayn rand institute"

i attended a federalist society panel discussion today. yeah, i know, why. let's just say these are the hazards of my new job. and i actually overheard the above, which, on some level, should not even cause me to raise my eyebrows. except that it is so exactly what you'd expect to hear in this forum that i couldn't believe my luck.

oh yeah, the panel was on whether we should be guarding against the infiltration of sharia law in america. i won't even bother with the arguments that were presented. that mess was predictable, too.

but that all ties into the actual theme of this post, since i know this blog is not your source for legal arguments / hard news (and if it is, you are awfully patient). i once heard (saw?) an interview with louis ck in which he said that people without any doubts are the funniest. he cited donald rumsfeld as an example of someone of unwavering certitude / guaranteed hilarity. i'd definitely add bankers/traders/whateverthehellyoucallthem on that list.

i will cite two examples:

1. jamie dimon. this guy. let's see if i understand this dispute correctly. in a meeting of international bankers, jamie deez tore into mark carney (chief of the bank of canada and widely expected to be the new head of the FSB, which wikipedia tells me is an international consortium of bank regulators that issues, uh, regulatory recommendations) because the latter supports higher capital reserves for banks. this presumably would prevent against the type of hyper-leveraging of our pre-september-2008 banking world.

what was dimon's defense? that these suggested standards were "un-american." now this made me laugh. because, in my view, trying to defeat an international agreement by arguing it is un-american is possibly the most american thing i've ever heard of.

2. alessio rastani.

i've never heard of this trader and i'm not sure how he is qualified to opine on the state of the international financial system. but hey, i suppose talking heads are a dime a dozen nowadays. for whatever reason, i expected the bbc to have some standards. his basic theory is that you can't depend on governments for shit and the eurozone is going to implode.

ok, whatever, that's fine. i even overlooked his statement that "governments don't rule the world; goldman sachs rules the world" because, let's face it, it's kind of true. those dudes own everything.

however, his worldview did make me sit up and take notice. for example, "we [traders] don't really care how [governments are] going to fix the economy . . . our job is to make money from it." then he notes that even though history remembers the great depression as a time of turmoil and grief, some were able to make money from it. indeed, and that is an example of how "anybody" can make money from the current worldwide economic debacle.

wow, anybody? "not just the elites?" sign me up. of course, his definition of "anybody" is a clever take on the english language: "those with a plan," e. g., "hedging strategies." then he tells everyone to "learn how to make money from a downward market," and that we all should "protect our assets".

anyway, i often am accused of being kind of a downer or too pessimistic. well, i dunno. my newest retort is that i must believe in some form of human progress to have the job i have. if i were truly nihilistic, i'd brush up on my hedging strategies and join . . . a hedge fund. those guys have it made.

bonus links:

do you think some lady accosted michelle bachmann to tell her that vinegar caused mental retardation in her daughter?

1 comment:

bowis said...

he is embarrassing to watch.

also, bbc has no standards.