Tag: finance

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between digital technology and contemporary finance, including the vast off-shore facets of its existence and the shadow markets which (as I understand them) traverse onshore and offshore, even breaking down the distinction between the two. An interesting example of this concerns the logistical challenge involved in creating the byzantine corporate […]

In his political memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis recounts a meeting with Larry Summer which took place in April 2015. Only months into his tenure as Finance Minister, he looked to this architect of the neoliberal world order for support as hostilities with European leaders over Greece’s fiscal future rapidly intensified. Coming straight […]

From One Market Under God, by Thomas Frank, loc 2230: For all the revulsion expressed by books like Liar’s Poker and Barbarians at the Gate, the dominant note was starstruck wonderment at these “masters of the universe,” at their millions and their manses, at their Gulfstream jets and Mercedes cars, at the high quality of […]

A fascinating observation in No Such Thing as a Free Gift, by Linsey McGoey, loc 785. I wonder if the digital elites who interest me see their wealth in similar terms? It was a Janus-faced ideology; one side of Carnegie was extraordinarily generous, expending time and vast financial sums on goals such as military disarmament […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 86-87. I’m beginning to try and catalogue public examples of this defensiveness because some of the over-reactions seem fascinatingly unbalanced: It is surprising how much fear his timid policies have generated among the big-money boys. There are no rational grounds for the hyperthyroid reactions of hedge fund […]

From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 459: Geithner denied the charge, later made in internal White House documents, that “once a decision is made, implementation by the Department of the Treasury has at times been slow and uneven,” and that “these factors all adversely affect execution of the policy process.” The parlance for […]

From Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford, loc 1053-1069: Virtually all of the financial innovations that have arisen in recent decades—including, for example, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and exotic financial derivatives—would not have been possible without access to powerful computers. Likewise, automated trading algorithms are now responsible for nearly two-thirds of stock market trades, […]

From Other People’s Money, by John Kay, loc 244: I was a schoolboy in Edinburgh in the 1960s. The capital of Scotland is Britain’s second financial centre and was the headquarters of two major banks, the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Banking was then a career for boys whose grades were […]

From Europe Entrapped by Claus Offe, pg 16-17. Recognition of this fact, as well as recognition of its recognition by non-financial agents, needs to underpin any adequate analysis of depoliticisation: Financial institutions are first and foremost debtors , owing assets to myriads of private and public claimants. Therefore, if big banks go under, many other […]

From The Big Short by Michael Lewis, pg 172. This is a part of the story of the financial crisis which has received too little attention: ‘innovations’ in finance were driven by the ‘disruption’ the established figures in the industry were subject to as a result of new online competitors: One of the reasons Wall […]

From Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, pg 302-303 One of the managing directors from London, who happened to be in New York, actually took me aside to practise an argument he planned to put to the Bank of England. He had calculated the sum of the losses of the banks underwriting BP to be 700 […]

From Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, pg 302-303 One of the managing directors from London, who happened to be in New York, actually took me aside to practise an argument he planned to put to the Bank of England. He had calculated the sum of the losses of the banks underwriting BP to be 700 […]

From Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis, pg 149: Their culture was based on food, and as strange as that sounds, it was stranger still to those who watched mortgage traders eat. “You don’t diet on Christmas Day,” says a former trader, “and you didn’t diet in the mortgage department. Every day was a holiday. We […]

For a long time John Lanchester’s coverage of the financial crisis has been the best thing about the London Review of Books. Yet even by his own high standards, his most recent essay is spectacularly good:  It’s done so through quantitative easing, which involves buying back its own bonds using money that doesn’t actually exist. […]