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Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trades

ISBN: 978-1-119-01959-6
224 pages
January 2015
Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trades (1119019591) cover image

Description

Venture deep into the heart of finance's weird and wonderful paradoxes

Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trades is an entertaining and compelling tour de force highlighting the paradoxes inherent to the modern financial system. Presented as a series of striking case studies, this book explores certain enigmatic or philosophical puzzles in the finance industry; some of these puzzles may seem slightly absurd at first glance, but all are very relevant to the way finance is conducted in the real world. Each story highlights specific hypocrisies or moral dilemmas that lie at the heart of the system, guiding readers through the challenges of finance by way of innovative and memorable paradigms. Written in clear, accessible language, this book doesn't claim to offer original financial theory or philosophy as such, but instead deepens the reader's understanding of the system and stimulates independent consideration of the current state of affairs.

The financial world, so often viewed as a rather dull place, is secretly alive with possibilities of strange and sometimes wonderful conundrums. There is the possibility, for instance, of a Manhattan auction house selling derivatives to buy swift-swimming predators known as Megalodons (thought to be extinct for millions of years). This book explores this and other curious propositions to point out the paradoxes of finance.

  • Explore the meaning of "value" in different contexts
  • Learn what the Old Testament can teach us about risk and uncertainty
  • Examine an alternative take on the 2007/2008 credit crisis
  • Consider how the "financial innovation" trend impacts the industry

To truly understand something, it is necessary to crawl deep into the metaphorical underbelly and have a look around. Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trades provides the itinerary, and the insightful discussion that stimulates curiosity.

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Table of Contents

About the Author ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

1 What is Value? Dinosaur Derivatives 1

2 What is Uncertainty? Joseph’s Dreams 17

3 What is a Contract? 2,4,6,8 . . . 31

4 What is a Financial Instrument? A Legal Fiction 45

5 What is Financial Innovation? Railroads and the Credit Crisis 59

6 What is Ownership? Faust 75

7 What is Money? Cyber Cash 89

8 What is Taxation? Better than Theft 109

9 What is Fraud? When We Meet the Bad 121

10 What is Regulation? Antique Maps 141

11 What is a Bankrupt? A Financial Institution 157

Epilogue 175

End Notes 183

Index 191

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Author Information

JEREMY JOSSE has spent the last twenty-plus years of his career working as an executive in some of the world's leading financial institutions, including Schroders, Citigroup, and N M Rothschild. He has published numerous articles on a wide range of financial subjects including the credit crisis, bank restructurings and financial engineering.
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Reviews

“ This book is a rare beast, merging the seemingly disparate topics of finance and philosophy..” (Journal of Economics, June 2015)

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Press Release

January 12, 2015
Dinosaur Derivatives and Other Trades

“It is fair to say that finance is a serious matter, whereas riddles are often frivolous.  Money, on the other hand, can be very superficial, whereas philosophical puzzles are profound,” argues Jeremy Josse.

Josse, an Oxford educated philosophy scholar, has spent the last twenty-plus years of his career working as an executive in some of the world’s leading financial institutions, including Schroders, Citigroup, and N M Rothschild.

In DINOSAUR DERIVATIVES AND OTHER TALES (Wiley, January 2015, $29.95), Josse illustrates how the financial world is alive with possibilities of strange and sometimes wonderful conundrums. There is the possibility, for instance, of a Manhattan auction house selling derivatives to buy swift-swimming predators known as Megalodons (thought to be extinct for millions of years).

This tour de force, highlighting the paradoxes inherent to the modern financial system, is presented as a series of case studies. Each story details specific hypocrisies or moral dilemmas that lie at the heart of the system, guiding readers through the challenges of finance by way of innovative and memorable paradigms.

Written in clear, accessible language, DINOSAUR DERIVATIVES doesn’t claim to offer original financial theory or philosophy as such, but instead deepens the reader’s understanding of the system and stimulates independent consideration of the current state of affairs. Topics Josse covers or can discuss include:

  • The meaning of ‘value; in some curious contexts,
  • What the Old Testament can teach us about risk and uncertainty,
  • An alternative take on the 2007/2008 credit crisis,
  • The infinite interpretative possibilities in every contract,
  • The taxation system of the lost city of Atlantis,
  • White collar ‘psychopaths’ do exist,
  • Our inner thoughts are hidden – and hence so are the laws of economics,
  • Regulatory failure: attempts to micro-manage the future.

To truly understand something, it is necessary to crawl deep into the underbelly and have a look around. DINOSAUR DERIVATIVES provides the itinerary, and the insightful discussion that stimulates curiosity.

“Our objective is to journey over the metaphorical financial rainbow, or perhaps go with Alice and explore the other side of the financial looking glass,” explains Josse.

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