G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Friday, September 19, 2008

In 2018, Rogue Nation’s Fed won’t Face Shortage of Chairs in Boardrooms!

In his book “When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management.” (2002) ROGER LOWENSTEIN said:

“…September 23, 1998…On account of a crisis a LTCM, McDongh had summoned the heads of every major Wall street bank. For the first time, the chiefs of Bankers Trust, Bear Sterns, Chase Manhattan, Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Salomon Smith Barney gathered under the oil portraits in the Fed’s tenth-floor boardrooms-not to bail out a Latin American nation but to consider a rescue of one of their own…

Unaccustomed to hosting such a large gathering, the Fed did not have enough leather-backed chairs to go around, so the chief executives had to squeeze into folding metal seats.”

My first thought: In year 2018, chairs won’t be a problem because most of 1998 invitees now have disappeared!

Recently (NYT September 7 2008) ROGER LOWENSTEIN said:

“…The Long-Term Capital fiasco momentarily shocked Wall Street out of its complacent trust in financial models, and was replete with lessons, for Washington as well as for Wall Street. But the lessons were ignored, and in this decade, the mistakes were repeated with far more harmful consequences. Instead of learning from the past, Wall Street has re-enacted it in larger form, in the mortgage debacle cum credit crisis…

Indeed, through the lens of today’s more widespread failure, the Long-Term Capital collapse looks like a small dress rehearsal…

In ’98, though credit markets froze and stocks plunged, they recovered quickly. Long-Term Capital was wholly a financial episode; it left no scar on Main Street. The current crisis has its roots in housing, a mainstay of the economy, and with the bubble’s bursting the damage has been enduring and severe…

If individual responsibility is to be fully excised from American capitalism, the free-market enthusiasts who founded Long-Term Capital deserve no little credit…

INVESTORS have no confidence in banks or in their disclosures. How much will each downward tick in housing prices hurt the bottom line? No one knows. Failing to inspire confidence, banks cannot raise (enough) capital; thus, they do not lend…


I heard on BBC TV on Sept 17 that AIG worked for sanctions against India because it would not open its insurance sector to the likes of AIG!

On Sept 18, FT’s John Gapper said:

“…But AIG takes the biscuit. Here was a huge multinational insurance group with a reputation for solid underwriting and risk management that decided to diversify from insuring risks it knew well – car crashes and fires – to covering derivatives it did not understand…

Well, $24bn of write-downs later – a mere 10 times its maximum estimate – the company has burned through its equity, spread financial chaos to all corners of the earth and humiliated the US Treasury. The job of insurance companies is to guard others against catastrophes, not cause them…”

I wonder if history will judge terrorists and these investment bankers very differently.

Therefore, I didn't find the picture below funny. Rogue nation's crisis is hitting common man and beggars of India.

* "Rogue Nation" phrase is borrowed from the title of Clyde Prestowitz's book 2003


Artist: R K Laxman, September 18, 2008 The Times of India