Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Money Wisdom #407

"...time is not an infinite series of isolated moments in which the past, present and future are separate and events are disconnected. Rather, the moments of time are interrelated in such a way that the past accumulates to establish a trajectory into the future and the future impinges upon the present in a way that requires a constant recasting and refiguring of the past."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.278

Money Wisdom #406

"While many of the mistakes economists and investment strategists made in the 1980's and 1990's now seem obvious, what has not yet been recognized is that their theories and models also rested upon several fundamental philosophical errors. The theories of leading financial economists in the last half of the twentieth century have an inadequate understanding of human selfhood or subjectivity and misconstrue the nature of time and historical development. These two errors are actually different versions of the same mistake. Contrary to the presuppositions of leading financial economists, reality is not an aggregate of separate entities, individuals, or monads that are externally and contingently related; it is an emerging web consisting of multiple networks in which everything and everyone come into being and develop through ongoing interrelations. Within these webs, subjects and objects are not separate from each other but coevolve. As this process unfolds, there is not subject without an object and vice versa. In the world of finance, for example, there can be no investor (subject) without something in which to invest (i.e. commodity, security, bond, derivative, etc), and, obviously, there are no investments without investors."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.277

Money Wisdom #405

"The belief that tomorrow's risks can be inferred from yesterday's prices and volatilities prevails at virtually every investment bank and trading desk."

Lowenstein When Genius Failed p.235 quoted in
Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.263

Money Wisdom #404

"In 1997, LTCM had '$120 billion of borrowed bonds and $1.25 trillion of derivatives. According to partners Scholes and Merton,' Dunbar reports [in Inventing Money], 'the interlocking parts were now so perfectly engineered that these devices were virtually capable of perpetual motion. As the technology of risk management continued to improve, the tiny sliver of equity underneath the inverted pyramid would vanish completely. There would be no need for excess cash to lubricate the money machines, and no need for irritating shareholders... ...At LTCM's zenith, they had a vision of zero capital and infinite leverage'. This scheme seems to make Marx's notion of capital as an infinitely productive self-reflexive loop operating like a perpetual motion machine a reality. But just when the money machines seemed to be functioning smoothly and at maximum efficiency, everything suddenly changed. Against all odds, the sequence of events that was never supposed to occur began in to unfold in the late summer of 1997 and quickly spread throughout the global economy."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.259

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Money Wisdom #403

"For both Luther and Calvin, sin and redemption are diametrically related - redemption can only occur in and through sin. Within the overall economy of salvation, therefore, sin and the fall, though painful, are always fortunate."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.88

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Money Wisdom #402

" The reasons for the condemnation of usury are multiple and complex. The theological justification for the sanction is that the usurer sells time, which properly belongs to God. Like Hermes, the usurer is a thief who steals not only from his fellow man but, more importantly, from God. This theological explanation, however, is inadequate for it is obviously overdetermined in many ways. The deeper reason for the fear of usury is its association with illegitimate excess and unlawful surplus. Far from avoiding money's perversity, the usurer freely traffics in supplements whose danger is not merely economic but is, more insidiously, sexual. The censure of usury rests on a dread of perverse sexuality. This is already evident in Aristotle's claim that usury is 'unnatural' because money gives birth to money. The generation of money by money seems to be a process of autoinsemination that breeds illegitimate offspring. By the Middle Ages, the association of usury with sexual perversity led to its condemnation as a form of bestiality. "

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games (2004) p.73-74

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Money Wisdom #401

"Whatever its form, money's intermediate status is what lends it an ambiguity that provokes ambivalence. In his creative application of game theory and complexity studies to money and finance, Shubik [in The Theory of Money and Financial Institutions p.282] observes that other than money, 'financial instruments are always created in pairs that net to zero.' This insight has implications that extend far beyond economic relations as they are traditionally understood. Since financial instruments and the relations they establish are always created in pairs, they form a structure characterized by binary opposition. As the exception to this rule, money falls between these opposites and thus can serve as the medium of exchange. Money, therefore, is liminal; always betwixt 'n' between, it is the condition of the possibility of a structure that cannot incorporate it. To be an effective medium of exchange determining different values, money must retain a neutrality that, in Shimmel's [sic] terms, 'is completely adaptable to any use'. As a result of this neutrality, money can take many forms; it is, in other words, polymorphous, polyvalent, and, some would insist, perverse."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games 2004 p.60

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Money Wisdom #400

"Money is mysterious and is getting more so. The mystery of money is at least in part the result of the oppositions it embodies: valuable/worthless, material/immaterial, rational/irrational, useful/useless... These contradictions create an irreducible ambiguity which renders money simultaneously attractive and repulsive. As a result of the ambivalence money provokes, it has repeatedly been associated with both God and the Devil."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games 2004 p.57

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Money Wisdom #399

"On the one hand, if [as Frank Stella says] the work of art is a nonreferential object in which 'what you see is what you see,' then it would seem that the representation and what it represents implode and become identical. On the other hand, Stella [also] claims, 'I do think that a good pictorial idea is worth more than a lot of manual dexterity.' From the later point of view, the painting appears to re-present the idea in a way that presupposes oppositions between concept/work, creation/production, conception/execution, and form/matter. Throughout the history of Western metaphysics, such binary oppositions are always hierarchical. Stella, like his philosophical and theological precursors, privileges the first term in each dyad over the second: the concept is essential, its appearance accidental." 

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games 2004 p.41

Monday, April 4, 2016

Money Wisdom #398

"The efficient market hypothesis was less the product of much-touted reason than the expression of an understandable yet irrational desire for order in a world that seemed chaotic."

Mark C Taylor Confidence Games 2004 p.12