Monthly Archives: May 2013

HFT: the right transaction tax

Taxes, like other user fees, are sometimes the right way to make the beneficiaries of a service pay for it. Not paying for a service leads to ‘tragedy of the commons‘ issues – abuse and overuse to the detriment of all users.

There is currently talk in Europe about a transaction tax in the financial markets. Does this fit with the above definition of a ‘good’ tax? Continue reading HFT: the right transaction tax

Barnier: Let Your Grandmothers Eat Cake!

EU Commisioner Michael Barnier issued a statement yesterday that put off addressing solvency problems in occupational pension funds. At a time when the Economist accuses European leadership of ‘sleepwalking’, this is a classic example of turning the pillow over and returning to dreamland. Continue reading Barnier: Let Your Grandmothers Eat Cake!

The New Normal – Open Data

Executive order on Open Data

What is missing? A mention of data standards. All that data isn’t going to help anyone if it is in a jumble of different formats, no matter how ‘machine readable’ it is.
But the key point is there – open data builds a strong economy. The President chooses to use the example of GPS and weather data (thank you, space program!!!) but he could as easily chosen the EDGAR program strengthening the US capital market via transparency for investors that leads to accurate pricing of investments.
Bravo, Mr. President!
Now lets roll up our sleeves and make it happen.

No Stress Please, We’re Euro

The European Banking Authority (EBA) recently decided to hold off on performing stress tests on Eurozone banks until 2014, citing asset reviews being conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB). The EBA last conducted the stress tests in 2011. You remember 2011. Despite ‘lessons learned’, the EBA gave Dexia a pass in the adverse scenario. Three months later, Dexia wrote down the value of its Greek sovereign debt (as did everyone else) and posted a loss of EUR 4 billion.

My lessons learned from that episode: Continue reading No Stress Please, We’re Euro

Meta-Rational Manifesto, aka Hello, World

OK, so here it is, a brand new blog from David vun Kannon. Please, no more cheering.

What is Rational Exuberance going to be about? The easy answer is anything I damn well please. I’d like to share with you my carefully shaped opinions about finance, investing, society, and a lot of geekery such as the importance of data standards, analytics and XBRL. Opinionated, yes, but if I descend into punditry, hand waving, bald assertions, etc., pleases call me on it. The ‘meta-rational‘ part of the title refers to the fact that I know I don’t have all the answers (and neither do you!). I would like a dialogue here, and not an echo chamber.

As to the manifesto part, I am a firm believer in rational exuberance. Not just “everything in moderation” but the idea that the world is on course to a gradually better future state for basically everyone. This is the idea of progress, not perfectibility, for those of you keeping score at home. We, humanity, are changing the world in a non-cyclical way for the better. I am joyful and optimistic, and I think you can be also.

Yes, there already is a fascinating blog, Invisible Hand, by the same author. I hope that blog will continue to focus on more personal topics such as science fiction and photography.

Many thanks for reading.

Gratitude works

I think it is safe to say that most readers of this blog are primates. We are social animals, and humans are the most social primate of all. Orangutans are solitary, and 7 billion chimpanzees would never survive the crowding.

We know how to get along, the give and take of society. A big part of that is gratitude. Gratitude is more than keeping score of favors with other individuals, but it probably grows from that need. We’ve been able to abstract score-keeping into something bigger.

Gratitude works. We all need each other, and the more of us there are, the more that is true. Think about it.