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CDSs a Good Thing?

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 21:18:11 -0300 (CLST)

Some interesting points in this interview -
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/business/economy/17gramm.html/?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

Are CDSs good or bad things?  The argument presented there is that they
helped spread risk.  But perhaps it is better to have a few banks fail
than bring everything down?  Perhaps the issue here is what most damages
consumer confidence?  Or perhaps it is which most efficiently clears away
over-leveraged positions?

And another point, not addressed, is synthetic CDOs.  Even if CDSs are
useful when used to spread risk, that doesn't mean that they should be
"abused" in other ways.  Although it's not clear to me to what extens
synthetic CDOs ever were a serious problem...

On reflection, an awful lot of things are not clear to me.

Andrew

Actually, no...

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 21:29:42 -0300 (CLST)

Actually, no, I *do* have an opinion on this.

The problem was not CDSs or CDOs or any other product itself.  The problem
was that there was insufficient information to reliably assess the risks -
there was no way to see how things were correlated.  And, related to that,
there was (perhaps wilful) ignorance about how those correlations align as
amount of money involved becomes "significant" in relation to, say, the
GDP of "important" nations.

So it would be fairer to say that any "sufficiently complex" financial
product is a problem.  That then includes CDSs when they are, for example,
used without a central authority, or used to construct CDOs, or
whatever...

Andrew

Correlations

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 14:10:56 -0300 (CLST)

As I was saying....

http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2008/11/17/all-for-one-and-one-for-all/

Andrew

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