Saturday, June 14, 2008

Money and truth

This topic will be regularly addressed as we go along. As we have already seen, these financial things always move through some progression that includes hedging, speculation, and ponzi-ness (Minsky's model). It's inevitable, even if some arrangement fills a set of pockets with oodles of money. As, those oodles are from the pockets of the hapless.

As an example, let's listen to an expert in these matters talk about evaluating a set of tranches (find the source for this) to some financing manager. So, here is what the expert said: "well, sir, we can tell you the value of bottom level and the top level, but anything in-between would be very difficult."

Yes, that is being honest, but it didn't go far enough. Any managers, and investors, ought to know that the bottom is where those things are that support this house-of-cards (the method probably has a reasonable motivation, yet it's operational aspects can stink - as we've seen recently - if only due to the effect that the method was said to essentially eliminate risk) are. Unfortunately, in many cases, they are junk, yet they could very well be okay if used in their own right.

And, the top-level is some estimate of what just might be attained out of the junk. It's like, everything has some beauty it. But, in a better sense, think of the junk's value as having a range from low to high. The idea is to allow that high aspect to be exploited for marketing which, if it's done correctly, will cover up the junkiness.

But, putting it another way, the bottom is what we can actually count (perhaps not, if the underlying foundation is itself suspect - so, we should say, ought to be countable). The top-level is a goal which, in this case, is illusory (even though, when these things work - as said before - some pockets bulge). And, as we all know, going from now to some goal is not a given (we can look at recent projects for examples- they abound).

Yes, the middle is problematic. With programs, middle-out may be a preferred view to control design and build issues. How would that happen with the tranche?

Well, the types of games, as we see with the tranche and more, result from a lack of reality that can be traced back to money decisions. It is probably unfortunate that 'gold' played this role. There has to be a basis; that ideal of the market (what the wisdom of crowds?) has its own operational issues.

Nature, in which we live and work, is the best source for this basis, not mathematics (which, in this case, would only be the tool and not the truth). Now, how is all this to be done?


04/03/2011 -- Tis tranche and trash.

11/04/2010 -- Big Ben is still putting us at risk and trashing the savers.

02/18/2009 -- We can look at why securities become toxic, almost by necessity.

12/17/2008 -- We'll use made-off in lieu of ponzi, henceforth.

10/26/2008 --

That the gaming is insane goes without mention, except many expect otherwise (old Marx had it somewhat right, fictitious capital). So, not only is there the Minsky issue, we have abuse of mathematics. Very interesting, indeed.

08/01/2008 --

It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

Modified: 04/03/2011

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Richer as smarter

We have asked the question the other way: if you're so smart, why aren't you rich?

Now, let's turn it around. Know of any idiots (to be defined) with a lot of money?

That the 'gab standard' (thanks, WSJ) has so much appeal and use, is indicative of a groupthink by those whose minds are mottled by too much money. There is a long list of things to discuss here.

But, poking fun at oops isn't of much use, as these are there, by necessity. Rather, we need to consider how smarts can go to more than just accumulation of more of itself (generally applied, as one could argue that even too much knowledge can be problematic, at times, analysis paralysis being one example).

One could argue that dumb rich won't be rich long, yet that type of statement would need to say what just might be 'dumb' (and, going with the gaming ontology would be problematic, as we've seen) as these types of discussions may, at some point, need to look at T-issues (one thing to consider is whether this is necessary, that is, following Kelly-Bootle, if we have Solomon why Occam?).

Of course, we need to look at 'rich' and possible variations thereof. It seems that most would run after money, even in it's abstracted form, given the chance. Are there other ways of being rich? Well, yes. One can be rich in 'smarts' that are not related to how much money you could get with it. Of course, these are not honed by 'best practice' methods.

You know, some of these may just dissipate when they are applied to any 'economic' theme. Which then brings up the use of 'idiot' earlier, how many ways are we idiots everyday? Again, one would want to set a framework for discussion, and perhaps demonstration, that does not necessitate big 'T' and its related issues.


07/03/2014 -- The Magna Charta is a wonderful example for us to apply to provider (king)/user (baron) issues.

06/12/2014 -- One way to look at this: cognitive elitism.

12/03/2013 -- Born smart or rich: The Atlantic. If the former, it depends upon how far down the hole one's life begins. Standing on the shoulders of giants does help which is what richness may (but, not necessarily) bring. ... Case in point. Take the English aristocracy. If you look at the history some big name families, you'll see a later start. Many times, a guy marries up and starts a dynasty (din-asty, as the brits say). On the other hand, many families died out. Take Charlemagne, all descendants now are via daughters. That is, there is no male line that come down through the years. Whole series of books look at expired lines. ... Back to the present. Of course, getting help is needed (despite the protestations of some supposed self-starters - Ayn loved writing about these - who forget their infantile dependencies, and those who coddled them - in some cases, trampling their families under their feet). Cooperation is part of sustainability. Despite that, though, richness has side-effects that are not easily overcome (even if you give it all away a la Bill and Warren - that does not counter negative karma accumulated over the years of abusive practices). So, for me, I would pick smart (too many examples of idiots with money - need I elaborate?).

09/19/2013 -- To some, evidently, grabbing oodles of money, without due consideration of ramifications to others or to the common weal, is the smartest thing; but, we do know that virtue is smart, to boot. Even the secularists are trying hard to show how their worldview can lead to right living (as in, they do not need God to have a conscience). And, what virtue might be prime important to this discussion? Prudence (see Remarks, this day).

06/03/2013 -- Supposed smarties, with big pockets, are making computational hells for us all due to several factors that we'll address.

05/03/2012 -- We'll start a 'meme' discussion, Either / Or.

10/13/2011 -- It is our economy.

03/22/2011 -- It's spring, and the garble uses gambling metaphors.

03/15/2011 -- The M & Ms are apropos.

03/13/2011 -- The machine can help us realize our smarts.

11/21/2010 -- Three years ago, it was said: Computational foci raise miraculous need. Still applies.

10/11/2009 -- Forbes has an article about the traits of those who made it rich. That one of these deals with technical talent (or the inverse of innumeracy) is correct, yet those who grab oodles of bucks, at the same time, have people working for them who are more talented. So, the question remains, is rich smart?

09/02/2009 -- I had not looked at Fooled by Randomness until today. The book contains a chapter with a title something like this, "if you're so rich, why aren't you smart?" We've mentioned one of Taleb's work before.

08/10/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

06/18/2009 -- A fresh look will be needed.

04/27/2009 -- We need to look at near-zero.

03/25/2009 -- Rhetoric can be fun, but we have to get into these issues with depth and technicalities.

01/18/2009 - We even need to look at why we need finance.

12/18/2008 -- Example loss by the rich.

11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.

11/12/2008 -- Well, things feel apart fairly quickly, starting in September of 2008. By N0vember, there was general spooking. Starting in September, movements toward nationalization sped so fast that it was easy to forget that a Republican administration was still in the White House. Talk about rewarding hubris and moral hazardness!!!!

10/23/2008 -- How do we control the influence of the fairy dust provided by the quants?

10/04/2008 -- Those who are smarter ran to the government (and we the taxpayers) for a bailout.

07/31/2008 -- It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

Modified: 07/03/2014

Monday, June 9, 2008

Solomon and Occam

An ACM Queue commentary by Stan Kelly-Bootle, while tongue-in-cheek and entertaining, covers topics that are certainly apropos to truth engineering discussions.

It is hard to follow Bootle, yet one feels that he does understand the issues of quasi-empiricism and hubris.

Perhaps, following Bootle, this little discussion on Now versus other could be code-ized. But, here is a reminder. From Hubris and truth (December 17, 2008):
  • Now, back to operational issues and bringing up a checklist (example, medical use). It might go something like this.
  • 1) Is this a repeat of some past performance?
  • 2) How much is the same in terms of factors, environment, etc.?
  • 3) How well do we know the factors dealing with things that have changed?
  • 4) Do we have a handle on the cardinality of the unknown unknown set and to what degree?
  • 5) ...
  • Get the drift? Anything past item 2 would be experimental (thereby bringing in uncertainty).
And, we could add, requiring hypothesis and oops expectation.


06/18/2009 -- A fresh look will be needed.

Modified: 06/18/2009