Since time immemorial, people have tried to predict the future. In the second half of the 20th century, these efforts grew more ambitious and sophisticated. Improvements in computational power, data gathering, and analysis were all put to work to try to lift the veil on the future. But the last decade has not been kind to futurology. Bankers' and insurers' forecasts of risk turned out to be drastically wrong, torpedoing the financial system and ushering in a long stagnation. Politicians' visions of long-term stable economic growth evaporated. Perhaps relatedly, scathing critiques of our ability to foresee the future rose to the top of bestseller lists. In this newly self-conscious mood, Nesta funded research that tries to get under the surface of different ways of talking about the future. This paper leans on that research, defending some forms of futurology. Accompanying Guardian post on uncertainty being the only certainty.
MF Global - once mostly a Futures Broker and more recently a budding full-service Investment Bank run by ex-Governor/ex-Senator Jon Corzine has collapsed following ratings downgrades on the back of large losses on Eurozone Sovereign Debt. Trades that Corzine himself oversaw. It will be the 8th largest Bankruptcy in US History. Much of the blame is being placed on Corzine's efforts to recreate his old firm, Goldman Sachs. He was forced out as Goldman CEO post IPO by none other than Hank Paulson - the Secretary of Treasury who oversaw the creation of TARP. [more inside]
Earlier this week news bubbled up that a hedge fund manager with a Bond-villain nickname had made a Bond-villain move: "Choc Finger" bought a whopping 241,000 tons of cocoa beans -- 7% of the world's cocoa supply and enough to make 5 billion chocolate bars -- driving prices to 33-year highs. [more inside]
“Uhh,” he stuttered, “wait. Are you delivering… coal? To… uhh, us?” “Well, yeah! Twenty-eight thousand tons of the good ol’ black gold!” The workman sarcastically furrowed his brow adding, “I mean, we did get the right address, har har. This is Æxecor? And this is Pier 53? And you are Brad, the fella who ordered it, right?” It was that moment that Brad’s palm almost immediately made contact with his forehead. He realized that something must have really gone awry: instead of virtually trading 28,000 tons of coal, Brad had somehow ended up with 28,000 tons of real coal.
Jewelers, engine parts manufacturers, and most of all, investors are watching as platinum hits an all time high, topping $1800 per ounce. An electic supply crisis in South Africa is to blame/thank for this unprecedented rise as mines are facing limits to the amount of electricity they can use. A mining analyst said it could eventually top $2000/oz.
California shuts down Nader-Gore vote trading site. This is absolutely ridiculous. "William Wood, chief counsel for the office of the secretary of state, said yesterday morning that trading for anything valuable is illegal. "