I said I would try to explain what I mean by sophisticated vulgarity in financial modeling, which I will do by imperfect analogy.
U.S. govt messed up as usual. Europe too.
The Norway killings.
I was in Norway twice. The first time was during the LTCM/Russian default crisis, which occurred while I was hiking around the fjords with a group of Norwegians, mostly middle-aged women it turned out. Every day before the start of the hike they played a cassette with the theme song of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics and did three minutes worth of aerobics to it in unison. I grinned the first time, but you should have seen them bound up and down the hills like mountain goats. Especially down, which took more skill. Not only that, but they all loved Bill Clinton. “I like a man who likes women,” one of them said. I went to Norway a second time, about six years later, to Balestrand and Bergen, and it was beautiful. I’d love to go again.
There is an orgy of glee as people watch the News of the World implode and see powerful or formerly powerful people threatened with legal action and loss of power. It’s a nice distraction in which almost everyone can feel righteous. There was a similar frenzy when FNMA, FHLMC and Lehman collapsed, but with no consequent long term behavioral consequences. One of the questions I don’t know the answer to, but which keeps presenting itself to me these days, is:
What’s Your Edge?
If you are going to seek a career in quantitative finance, what’s your advantage? Is it computer science, financial theorizing, pragmatic modeling, sales or trading, working on the desk with people or solitarily in an office? Which are you best at and, also, which do you enjoy doing most?