Dollars and Jens
Sunday, December 19, 2004
derived vulnerabilities in the financial system
The BBC last week showed a movie that was fictional, but designed to look like a documentary — kind of like a Michael Moore movie — and there's been a certain amount of what the British call "wingeing" from the financial community that derivatives traders were portrayed as terrorists. On the contrary, I thought what they did was fairly clever, from a political correctness standpoint. In the show, an Arab derivatives trader commits suicide shortly after a terrorist attack on an oil facility, and it's discovered that a number of the OTC derivatives he was using to cover potential losses had a knock-out clause invalidating them if oil got above $75 per barrel. It turns out eventually that he is not a terrorist working from the inside to destroy a major bank and bring down the global financial system; thus the BBC gets to raise the possibility of a terrorist, even an Arab one, infiltrating a major financial institution and leaving global capitalism especially vulnerable, while ultimately catering more explicitly to ethnic profiling concerns of civil libertarians. Much like Galileo did in his dialog. (Remind me, how did that work out for him?)

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