D.C. Turf Wars

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the June 7, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

 

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) currently has regulatory responsibility for stock index futures. The Bush administration recently announced plans to introduce legislation shifting control to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Both Investor’s Daily and The Wall Street Journal have faithfully presented both sides of the debate.

The critical questions, however, relate not to who’s in charge, but to the impetus behind the territorial maneuvering. In analyzing the 1987 stock market crash, official Washington, the news media and even some well respected financial gurus have blamed stock index futures – in particular their use in program trading – for the Continue Reading “D.C. Turf Wars”

Can America Compete? (Part II)

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the September 21, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

Part Two – A Living Example of the Risk-Return Tradeoff

This is the second of two commentaries aimed at exploring a novel approach to determining our nations’ true standing in the world economy. Last week we looked at the risk-return tradeoff, the idea that risky investments are more likely to have higher returns (and larger losses) than safer investments.

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Earlier this year, a Siberian valley explodes suddenly. The cause – a leaky gas pipeline. Low safety standards lead to a faulty job. People die. Property is destroyed.

You read about it all the time. Not-so-old bridges collapse, sending trainloads of passengers plummeting to an early demise. Third World ferries, overloaded with holiday travelers, capsize again and again. Athens and Frankfurt sport airports which appear to openly invite terrorists.

Across the globe, we see examples of why we are happy to be Americans. Not only do Continue Reading “Can America Compete? (Part II)”

Can America Compete? (Part I)

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the September 14, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

Part One – The Risk-Return Tradeoff

The following is the first in series of two commentaries aimed at presenting a unique approach to determining our nation’s position within the world’s economy. This week is expository, meaning some readers will already be familiar with the concept of the risk-return tradeoff. In the spirit of all mini-series, we save the real interesting part for next week.

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Finance professors, like all other professors, find they can enhance their employment options (i.e., get tenured) by coming up with all these fancy dancy theories to describe the real world. They write scholarly articles and intricate textbooks (most of which end up on the “Required Reading” list of the courses they teach). Many of these theories remain in the academic realm (where they can take on a life of their own). Every once in a while, though, a really neat idea escapes the verbosity of pedantic journals and appears in the vernacular of the newsweeklies. (When this happens, the professor generally writes a book for the casual reader, appears on several talk shows and becomes a highly paid consultant.)

One of the more significant investment models developed by the academic industry goes by the name, in generic terms, Modern Portfolio Theory. It attempts to provide a Continue Reading “Can America Compete? (Part I)”