Financialization and its Discontents

Financialization is not new, nor is discontent with it. “Capitalism is essentially a financial system, and the peculiar behavioral attributes of a capitalist economy center around the impact of finance upon system behavior.”  Minsky (1967) Fifty years ago, Minsky zeroed in on instability as the central flaw of the financial system of his time, and located the source of that

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In memoriam, Jack Treynor

[Remarks at Jack Treynor Memorial, MIT Chapel, June 19, 2016] “Jack has never been easy,” wrote Charles D. Ellis in 1981 as Jack stepped down from his position as editor of the Financial Analysts Journal which he had held since 1969.   In Jack’s own departing words in the same issue of the FAJ, he described a “guerilla war” between black

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What does repo do?

The Office of Financial Research is out with a new “Reference Guide to U.S. Repo and Securities Lending Markets” which collects together in one place most of what is known, and draws some attention to how much is not known, about this key bit of monetary infrastructure. Kudos to the authors for treating repo and securities lending in the same

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Flash Crash explained by HFT

The official report on events of October 15, 2014, is now public and it makes fascinating reading.  Most news accounts of the report have taken its bland no-smoking-gun conclusion at face value, but if you actually read the report a rather clear picture emerges, along with some rather obvious unanswered questions.  Bloomberg has the best account, but there is more

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Regulatory Silos, and also Intellectual Silos, hold back financial reform

A month ago, the Volcker Alliance issued a report intended to address a central issue that had been purposely left to one side in the Dodd-Frank reform legislation, namely the inadequacy of the regulatory system that will be tasked with implementing any future financial reform.  Titled “Reshaping the Financial Regulatory System:  Long Delayed, Now Crucial”, the report got respectful notice

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Financial Reform, Part One: TBTF

The word has come down, “Never again!” On October 14, 2008, the US Treasury announced a plan to recapitalize the US banking system, to the tune of $250 billion, starting with the nine biggest banks who were forced to take the money, whether they wanted to or not.  The government got its (our) money back, but that’s not what matters.

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