Monday, August 01, 2016

Waste, waste, waste » TripleCrisis

Waste, waste, waste » TripleCrisis: "Bill, as mentioned, describes the phenomenon of `Schumpeterian Waste’: or the waste in terms of resources that arises from the fact that some failure of firms is necessary for the proper functioning of capitalist dynamics. As his introduction puts it: “economic growth has been driven by successive processes of trial and error and error and error: upstream exercises in research and invention, and downstream experiments in exploiting the new economic space opened by innovation. Each of these activities necessarily generates much waste along the way: dead-end research programs, useless inventions and failed commercial ventures.” Bill suggests that there needs to be a break from concerns about financial returns and investment (thereby necessitating a role for government) in order for this to work effectively."

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

HSBC Currency Traders Got Greedy on Christmas

HSBC Currency Traders Got Greedy on Christmas - Bloomberg View: "More generally, there is a reason that "insider trading" isn't really a thing in the FX world. These guys trade pounds all day. They know that their clients are buying and selling pounds. If they were restricted from trading any time they knew that there might be a big client trade in the next week, they could never trade. Front-running a live order is bad, but just buying pounds when you know a client might later want to buy pounds seems ... inevitable? "

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Brexit and the power of wishful thinking

In Brexit and the power of wishful thinking Tim Harford talks about predicting the future.  There are at least two interesting aspects:

1) Behavioral biases that make this more difficult.

"The first is that wishful thinking is surprisingly powerful. A few years ago, the economist Guy Mayraz conducted a simple experiment at Oxford university’s Centre for Experimental Social Science. Mayraz ran sessions in which the participants were shown 90 days of “wheat prices” (actually based on historical price data) and asked to predict the price of wheat on the 100th day. In addition to being paid for accurate forecasts, half the experimental subjects were told they were “bakers”, who would profit if the price of wheat fell, and half were “farmers”, who would make money if the price of wheat rose."
2) The use of scenario planning:

"It’s time for more serious scenario thinking about the UK’s future in Europe. Because scenarios are persuasive stories, they can help us face up to uncomfortable prospects and think clearly about possibilities we would rather ignore. And because scenarios contradict each other, they force us to acknowledge that, in the end, we cannot actually see into the future. As a result, we move from a sterile question to a fertile one — from “What will happen?” to “What will we do if it does?”"

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Why Land May Not Be the Smartest Place to Put Your Nest Egg - The New York Times

Why Land May Not Be the Smartest Place to Put Your Nest Egg - The New York Times: "A more extreme outcome is also quite plausible. In a hundred years, we might even see much of our former farmland converted back to wildlife preserves. In fact, it’s far from inconceivable that the real price of land could be even lower than it is right now."

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Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: What's wrong with Airbnb?

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative: What's wrong with Airbnb?: "Airbnb undermines the distinction between short-term, "hotel", accommodation and and long-term, "apartment" accommodation. Some people seem to figure this is a bad thing. New York State legislators, for example, have passed legislation imposing heavy fines on anyone listing their entire apartment on Airbnb or a similar service. But what – if anything – is wrong with what Airbnb is doing?"

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Friday, July 08, 2016

Why Traders Have Lost Their Touch

Why Traders Have Lost Their Touch - Bloomberg View: "Trading can be broken down into a few fairly simple strategies. Flow trading entails taking positions on the back of customer orders. Buying-and-selling patterns create opportunities for traders to exploit small price changes. Large, dominant dealers that participate in a high proportion of activity are especially well-positioned to benefit"

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Monday, June 06, 2016

How do you mine Bitcoin – and is it still worth it?

How do you mine Bitcoin – and is it still worth it?: "There are alternatives to Bitcoin, such as Litecoin or Quarkcoin. Yet these alternative forms of digital money are becoming increasingly competitive as well. And as they evolve and become more competitively turbulent, the rewards diminish as well.. If you are just starting out as a potential miner, you stand a better chance going for one of these newer alternatives."

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Business Strategy and evolution

Really lovely post from Stumbling and Mumbling that links the mico aspect of firm strategy with the more macro elements of the business cycle.

"It’s not just change in the environment over time that can lead to maladaption, corporate death and downturns. A similar problem occurs when businessmen move from one environment to another. For example, the market in sportswear selected in favour of Mike Ashley’s ruthless cost-cutting. But that strategy when applied to Newcastle United proved less successful*. Or to take a more outlandish example, the market selects in favour of property developers who “restructure” their debts and dodge taxes. But it’s not so clear that such strategies are a good way of handling the government’s finances."
I would like to emphasis this link between some of the inefficiencies at the micro level and their implications at the marco sphere more fully, just as the new economic thinking takes issues like political power and distributions and uses them to enhance understanding of some micro interactions.