Wednesday, May 6

Why bankers are intellectually naked


Banking is going through one of its periodic gut wrenching rides. Every 10-20 years, there's a banking crisis somewhere in the world and then all hell breaks loose with demands to fix the banking system. They tinker around the edges and then things go along in the similar way. 

Couple of things. I visited the Bank of England museum over the holidays. And it's fascinating to see how that bank evolved. And the number of crises situations it went through. And is still going through. That's the nature of banking son. And that's because it's an intermediary between many stakeholders such as savers, corporates, funds, governments, etc etc. And they change. When they change, the role of banks needs to change as well. Sometimes things break. 

The second aspect to remember is that historically speaking, banking and money lending has always been in the cross fires going back to Jesus overturning the money lenders tables in the Jerusalem temple to how the banias in India and Jews worldwide were and still are spat upon because they do banking and money lending. Religions frown on it, Judaism Christianity and Islam frown on it and ban usury or any kind of interest rates in the case of Islam. 

And you know what? Life goes on and banking goes on. 




Saving...) (Saving...) Why bankers are intellectually naked -

Why bankers are intellectually naked -

A definitive explanation of the industry’s economics warns the causes of the financial crisis have not gone away and will return

The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It, by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, Princeton, RRP£19.95, RRP$29.95

The UK’s Independent Commission on Banking, of which I was a member, made a modest proposal: the proportion of the balance sheet of UK retail banks that has to be funded by equity, instead of debt, should be raised to 4 per cent. This would be just a percentage point above the figure suggested by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The government rejected this, because of lobbying by the banks.

Why might even so tiny an increase in the equity-funded proportio

Great idea to deal with being cold


Tuesday, May 5

Some fascinating historical photographs


Execution by cannon, in Shiraz, Iran, mid-late 19th century

i read so many times about how the British blew mutineers apart by cannon, but this is the first time I am actually visualising the act. Quite a gory sight I would guess, and would end up leaving only the extremities intact. The British saved costs (typical) by tying 2-3 chaps at the same time unlike just one in this case.


Major General Horatio Gordon Robley with his collection of tattooed Maori heads, 1895

as one does…and then you wonder why the people hate imperialists..


Georges Blind, a Member of the French Resistance, Smiling at a German Firing Squad, October 1944

apparently USA is bringing back the firing squad. And recently Indonesia executed some drug smugglers by firing squad as well. Same old same old, eh?


Counter-protester with her daughters at a civil liberties rally by black people, Bogalusa, Louisiana, 1965

its good to see that 50 years since this photograph was taken, racism is well and truly still alive.