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2014 Year in Review: Part 2

Will 2015 be the year it all comes tumbling down?
Friday, December 19, 2014, 12:27 PM

This year has been all about risk—existential risk. Some of it seemed to dissipate and some lingers.  Market valuations remain risky—regression to the mean could easily provide a 50% haircut and more if we observe regression through the mean. This has not come to pass, but the risk is very real.

Those who seek risk in markets will eventually find it. » Read more


We've Dug a Pretty Damn Big Hole for Ourselves

How do we get out of this mess?
Monday, April 22, 2013, 10:15 PM

The diminishing returns of technology are insidious, and they are ever with us. By this I mean the slow erosion of the quality of life, despite the impression that technological wonders only make our lives better. » Read more


Janet Tavakoli: Understanding Derivatives and Their Risks

Abuse is the problem
Saturday, September 15, 2012, 11:48 AM

Global financial markets are awash in hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives. By some estimates, the total amount exceeds one quadrillion.

Derivatives played a central role in the 2008 credit crisis, as they had a brutal multiplying effect on the magnitude of the carnage. As a bad asset was written down, oftentimes there were derivative contracts written against it that resulted in total losses 10x greater than the initial write-down.

But what exactly are derivatives? How do they work?

And have we learned to treat these "weapons of mass financial destruction" (as Warren Buffet colorfully coined them) any more carefully in the aftermath of the global financial crisis? » Read more