So, in the course of my daily business, I ended up pleasantly chatting with a gal who happens to be a freelance lady of the night.
Lady of the night? What a euphemism (or would it be “an euphemism”) Actually, she was more or less a lady of both day and night time. And with the magic of Craigslist, a lady of anytime, and almost anywhere.
In any case, she uttered something that floored me, with my polite boughi middle class sheltered values.
Now to swaps: one type of Derivative you’ve heard of on CNN or NPR is the Credit Default Swap. It is used to hedge risk in credit. Basically the risk that one person will default on their debt to another.
Explaining CDS s will make this blog very long, but suffice to say CDS’s made many people rich beyond your wildest dreams, and then bankrupted our entire generation. Enough said? Basically the CDS is a funky insurance policy.
AIG insurance (a manky set of bastards if ever there were any) wrote $78 billion in swaps. $78 billion dollars is a lot of money in private hands.
“Everything counts in Large Amounts…” – Depeche Mode.
So you want to understand the financial crisis more? Understand why we are all but in a depression (for we’ve been in a recession for at least a year, according to some analysts.) Then you have to understand the humble lil derivative.
Derivatives, what are derivatives, and what will explain to you what derivatives are? And why do they even matter?
Here’s a short synopsis of how I understand derivatives. Because I tend to verbosity, it will be a multi-part blog. Read it, and enjoy.
If you want to understand derivatives you may be tempted to picture financial voodoo; you make a circle in chicken blood, dance naked in it, wring the chicken’s neck, pray to a Loa, make the sign of the elder djinns over your forehead, and then you short sell derivative contracts on margin.
Some might say that you wouldn’t be too far from the truth.
This is not a happy blog, but it is about things which are necessary to think about. I wrote an earlier review about an interesting book, “The Queen’s Slave Trader” – I recommend that you read it.
Some people hide from such things, taking scant comfort in a New Age “see no evil, hear no evil” gospel of positive thinking. A gospel pf pretty lies.
Some, however, prefer to be adults. This is an interesting book . An interesting history and biography of a fascinating and ruthless man, Sir John Hawkyns – an early commodity trader, merchant, and Queen Elizabeth’s official slave trader under royal warrant.
The past is always relevant today, I will demonstrate this in a hot minute. But first, the book…
I found this story to be thought provoking.
You are being lied to about pirates, by Johann Hari. San Francisco Bay View. April 11, 2009
Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the U.S. to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth..