Friday, August 29, 2008

My minimum minimorum on exiting Iraq!

I was never in favor of the invasion of Iraq but, once it occurred, I pleaded for a scheme that would put its oil revenues directly into the pockets of all the Iraqis, and thereby set an example that could help to empower the democracy in all the other countries that are cursed with the centralization of their oil revenues… the mother of all oil curses. Unfortunately, the supposed builders of democracy forgot to bring with them to Iraq such a fundamental building block.

Now, when exiting Iraq, as a minimum minimorum, we should at least aspire that the next Saddam Hussein, whenever he will appear, should not find it easier to be the next Saddam Hussein… much the same like the next Bush, whenever he will appear, should not find it easier to be the next Bush.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Discrimination based on the financial profiling and risk-based pricing

Risk-based pricing actually requires creating the misinformation that allows for making borrowers who should get lower rates agree to pay the higher rates that cover the losses of those that should not have been given credit… at least not at these high impossible rates.

Risk based pricing, which is similar to placing persons that after some doubtful genetic test are presumed to be especially exposed to an illness in a separate insurance pool, could be causing much of the growing social inequality that is currently attributed by some to globalization. Risk profiling, for a discriminatory purpose, is prohibited in most spheres of our social relations, except in lending where it is very much cheered, by most.

John, Paul and Peter, because of FICO have to pay high interest. John, though he might have been able to do so at lower rates, is not able to service the debt and loses. Paul, utterly responsible, services it, barely, and Peter who is in this group because no ones no why meets the payments with ease. Question: Any winners?

John should for a starter not have been given the credit, at least not at the high rate, and both Paul and Peter, having been able to service the debt at high rates evidenced de facto they merited lower rates. Answer: No winners! Except of course those who are not to be named!

How libertarians can shut up about the financial information cartels that chain the markets to neo-non-transparent-regulations, I have never understood.

How developed countries’ progressives can shut up about the discrimination implicit in risk based pricing and that could be introducing more inequality in the societies than what they sometimes attribute to globalization, I have never understood.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vulture funds

I might not like it too much if a vulture-fund-manager invited any of my daughters out to celebrate a killing in Zambia debt but, having said that, neither am I so sure that the world would be a better place without the vulture funds.

That some can find opportunities in buying uncollectible loans and squeeze fortunes out of them when others have decided to clean up their books, is just part of the circle of life, and part of the same market mechanism which signals how much, or how little, the loans are worth, since the price of a loan indicates the expectations of collecting on an outstanding loan and not the expectations of collecting on a “pardoned” loan. Yes, the vulture funds are into an ugly business, cleaning up among corpses, but, by their sheer presence, they might perhaps even help to reduce the number of infections and consequent deaths.

Most, or perhaps all of the scholar papers on restructuring or condoning of sovereign debt, state as the explicit purpose of the whole exercise, that of enabling the countries to regain access to the international capital markets again, something which reads like the torturer waking up his fainted victim in order to start all over again.

In this respect, if you need to pick on one, you might also choose to do so at that moment of the circle of life when the new born debt-overhang-ridden country gets thrown out to start defending itself again from the many dogs-of-finance roaming out there, and often guided by the same old lousy government that previously messed it up.

There is so much written about freeing up the countries in order for them to access the markets while comparatively so little about how they should go about to avoid repeating the same mistakes, and so perhaps I should also frown when it is a regular investment banker, or a good hearted MFI banker, or even just an over-illusioned activist who knocks on my door and asks for my daughter.