Emanuel Derman

Ten Principles for Recapitalizing Capitalism

By Emanuel Derman
November 22, 2011
Everyone is a grownup and no one is more grown up than anyone else. Your words are as valuable as money. A few things are illegal; the rest is up to you. If you want the benefits of taking risk, you must also suffer the disadvantages. Printing or throwing money cannot solve political or spiritual problems. It can only postpone them. Don’t treat only some people’s insolvency as illiquidity. Optimization in human affairs is an illusion. You always need more capital than you think. Corporations are neither governments nor people. Provide golden parachutes for no one; provide tin parachutes for everyone. “If you believe that capitalism is a system in which money matters more than freedom, you are doomed when people who don’t believe in freedom attack using money.”*

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Volker Schlöndorff and Europe

By Emanuel Derman
November 18, 2011

I like many of the movies of the German director Volker Schlöndorff, whose first film I saw as a grad student a long time. It was called Young Törless and was an impressive adaptation of a book by Robert Musil, catching the sadness and confusion of adolescence and longing, and its attraction. Looking at his filmography, I realize now that what he’s really good at is movies that come from good books: The Tin Drum, for example, and Swann in Love, which I took to watching for inspiration and momentum when I mired down in the early part of Proust vol 1. It got me through to the end of that volume. As you can see, he’s got a very European sensibility.

Good to go

By Emanuel Derman
November 10, 2011

Everyone avers that honesty, ethics, morality, art, literature, science, etc. are good, but if you look at the way people behave most of the time, their actions give the lie to their beliefs.

Margin calls

By Emanuel Derman
November 3, 2011

Two movies this week, one new — “Margin Call” — and one old a second time — Alan Pakula’s “Klute.” Both didn’t live up to what I expected or recalled.