Skip to main content

Dissent is Not Allowed

Borg Cube, at system J25

You will be assimilated into the Borg!

Regular readers probably know that I believe that the infrastructure of contemporary capital markets is broken. The broken character of it is sometimes (misleadingly) attributed to the speed at which trading is done, or (not quite so misleadingly) to the automatic, Borg-like, algorithmic character of such trading. The initials HFT (high frequency trading) have come to serve as short hand for a range of issues that have made markets overly easy for some players to rig at the expense of other players: and at the expense of issuers, the going-public process, even the over-all economy.

Mary Jo White, the chair of the SEC, is setting up a panel to advise her and the whole of the Commission on such issues. Unfortunately, it appears that the panel is rigged in favor of assimilated into the Borg.

Bloomberg is reporting that economist Joseph Stiglitz (a Nobel Prize winner)  has been excluded from the body precisely because he has expressed anti-Borg views.

When you start doing that, Ms White, you aren't really asking for advice. You're putting on a show.


Popular posts from this blog

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…