Current

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Harriet Harperson—bigoted and wrong

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/04/2009 09:03:00 pm

A few days ago, Harridan Harperson—the Worst Person on the Planet™—decided that the whole banking crisis had been caused by too many men in the banking system.
Asked whether the financial crisis would have arisen if more women had been in senior positions, Ms Harman referred to the US bank that collapsed and prompted international turmoil.

"Somebody did say... that if it had been Lehman sisters rather than Lehman Brothers then there may not have been as much," she told GMTV.

Riiiight. So, can I look forward to this fucking evil little witch eating her own words?

"What?" I hear you cry.

As you may know, one of the very dodgy financial instruments that brought the whole banking system crashing down was the Credit Default Swap (and these have made it particularly difficult for the banks to assess precisely how much debt they are holding, and the quality of that debt).

And now, via @gareth_e_clark, it seems that it was a woman who invented these jolly little bundles of fun.
You won't find her on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business but Blythe Masters may go down in history as the woman who is responsible for the 2008 collapse of global financial markets. You can't get more powerful than that.

When I started researching credit default swaps --the financial vehicle that Blythe Masters is credited/blamed for inventing and which Warren Buffet described in 2003 in his annual letter to shareholders as "financial weapons of mass destruction", my image of its originator was definitely not pink.

So sure was I that the culprits were testosterone-driven venture capital types that before I had the facts I had already begun my mental argument of why a woman would never have come up with a scheme that could bring global markets to their knees.

So much for fact-less based arguments.
...

As recently as September, Ms. Masters was defending the credit default swaps in an email exchange with The Guardian.
"I do believe CDSs [credit default swaps] have been miscast, much as poor workmen tend to blame their tools."

NC Painter has a short article written by Blythe Masters in 1997 where she describes how the credit default swaps will revolutionize banking. NC Painter added the bold italics.

By enhancing liquidity, credit derivatives achieve the financial equivalent of a free lunch, whereby both buyers and sellers of risk benefit from the associated efficiency gains."


Ms. Masters obviously isn't a devotee of TANSTAAL—"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch,"—an acronym made popular in the 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which, according to Wikipedia, discusses the problems caused by not considering the eventual outcome of an unbalanced economy.

Oh dear. It looks like Harridan Harperson needs to shut the fuck up and crawl under a rock somewhere and die. I mean, obviously I thought that was the case before I stumbled across this little gem, but this has merely strengthened that feeling.

Bugger off, Harperson, you bigoted, sodding loon.

P.S. HowStuffWorks has a rather interesting way of describing how Credit Default Swaps work. Or, rather, what happens when they don't.
Imagine that you could purchase your friend Jimmy's health insurance policy from the company that issued it. Everything's going smoothly; you're raking in the dough as Jimmy makes his monthly payments. But things take a sudden turn for the worse after Jimmy's legs are crushed in a car wreck. Jimmy can't afford the healthcare costs, but luckily he's insured—by you.

You find nothing but cobwebs in your savings account and realize that you can't pay for Jimmy's health care. Jimmy's still insured (he's faithfully made his premium payments), so who pays the hospital bills? The insurance company sold the policy to you, and you owned it when Jimmy's accident happened. You were caught with the hot potato.

Jimmy's hospital realizes his insurer won't cover his costs and releases him, but he still requires care. So Jimmy sues you to pay up, but you just blew all of your money completing your collection of Pat Boone albums, which suddenly doesn't seem like such a good investment. Even worse, a trove of Boone's albums was discovered in the estates of some recently deceased collectors, and the market value of your collection plummets. You sell the collection for half of what you paid for it and put it toward Jimmy's health care costs, but it's a drop in the bucket. Ultimately, you're forced to declare bankruptcy.

Yup, that's as clear an explanation as I've seen.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 8/04/2009 09:03:00 pm


13 Blogger Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harridan Harpyperson, surely?

8/04/2009 09:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TANSTAAFL

8/04/2009 09:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and how are jimmy,s legs now.

8/04/2009 10:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Fausty said...

It'll be interesting to see how she wriggles out of that one - assuming she's made aware of it ...

Nicely argued, DK.

8/04/2009 10:22:00 pm  
Blogger Trixy said...

Dur, of course it would be invented by a woman. It's devious and allows you to go shopping and be blissfully unaware as to whether or not you can afford all these shiny new things.

Genius.

8/04/2009 10:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Brian E. said...

I wonder what she thinks about the council that has forced a women's refuge to close because they won't take in abused men?
This really demonstrates equality at work!

8/04/2009 11:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry but as much as I hate HH i would much rather she be in charge than Marshall Brain.

8/04/2009 11:16:00 pm  
Blogger Ryan said...

It's one of those perfect little facts.

The kind of thing you would expect the Today program to throw in the harpies face were it doing its job. Hopefully someone will bring it up if she's on QT.

8/05/2009 12:45:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6739430.ece

Is it just me or is this woman clinically insane??

"Labour’s deputy leader used her position as Gordon Brown’s stand-in to demand a more radical overhaul of the law, such as targets for prosecutors and police to secure more convictions."

SO assuming only 30% of alleged rapists are actually guilty but there is a target of a 60% conviction rate, we would just send em down anyway?

Don't get me wrong I am not defending rapists or quoting actual figures I just think that "Trial by Statistic" is a bad idea.

8/05/2009 01:03:00 am  
Blogger VotR said...

Hear, hear. I wish Harm Man would fuck off.

One and a half weeks left.

8/05/2009 01:13:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's one of the nastiest and most egregious people in this shithole of a government. Well maybe with the exception of Blinker Balls...

Anyway, on a lighter note......

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/politics/politics-headlines/harman's-husband-urged-to-shag-her-200908051955/

8/05/2009 08:52:00 am  
Anonymous Ex-Locust said...

Actually that explanation of credit default swaps is wrong. The contract between Jimmy and the insurer is unchanged by the fact that the insurer 'bought protection' from you, the Pat Boone album collector. It's your and the insurer's problem if you are broke, not Jimmy's.

The main problem with the widespread use of CDSes was that the people buying the protection against end-customers defaulting (i.e. 'selling on' part of the insurance policy, or loan in the real world) assumed that the buyers of those policies/loans would be able to pay up when the time came. But especially with the collapse of Lehman Brothers,this was not the case, so the sellers of the risk still had the risk they thought they had got rid of.

A soon-to-emerge problem may be the impact on bankruptcy procedures. Buying a CDS on a company makes you money if the company goes broke, and the more spectacularly un irredeemably it goes broke, the better for you. It's possible to buy a decent stake of the debt or bonds of a troubled company, buy many times that amount in CDSes, 'bets that they go broke', and use your stake in the loans or bonds to ensure that they do not get rescued. You lose a bit of money on your bonds and make out like, well, a bandit on the CDSes. Nasty but true.

Hedgefundboy

8/08/2009 10:12:00 am  
Anonymous Richard said...

More women in banking?

Don't forget the best known woman in the City - Nicola Horlick, who thought that Bernie Madoff was "very, very good at calling the U.S. equity market" and so invested her clients' money in his pyramid investment scam. With that and other duff investments, the fund she managed lost over half its value.

8/12/2009 12:57:00 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Archives

Previous Posts

Archives

Testimonials

  • "The best British political/libertarian blog on the web. Consistently excellent but not for the squeamish."—Christopher Snowdon
  • "[He] runs the infamous and fantastically sweary Devil’s Kitchen blog, and because he’s one of the naughtiest geeks (second only to the incredibly, incredibly naughty Guido Fawkes) he’s right at the top of the evil dork hierarchy."—Charlotte Gore
  • "I met the Devil's Kitchen the other night. What a charming young man he is, and considerably modest too..."—Peter Briffa
  • "The Devil's Kitchen exposes hypocrisy everywhere, no holds barred."—Wrinkled Weasel
  • "People can still be controversial and influential whilst retaining integrity—Devil's Kitchen springs to mind—and attract frequent but intelligent comment."—Steve Shark, at B&D
  • "Sometimes too much, sometimes wrong, sometimes just too much but always worth a read. Not so much a blog as a force of nature."—The Nameless Libertarian
  • "The Devil's Kitchen—a terrifying blog that covers an astonishing range of subjects with an informed passion and a rage against the machine that leaves me in awe..."—Polaris
  • "He rants like no one else in the blogosphere. But it's ranting in an eloquent, if sweary, kind of way. Eton taught him a lot."—Iain Dale
  • "But for all that, he is a brilliant writer—incisive, fisker- extraordinaire and with an over developed sense of humour... And he can back up his sometimes extraordinary views with some good old fashioned intellectual rigour... I'm promoting him on my blogroll to a daily read."—Iain Dale
  • "... an intelligent guy and a brilliant writer..."—A Very British Dude
  • "... the glorious Devil's Kitchen blog—it's not for the squeamish or easily offended..."—Samizdata
  • "... a very, smart article... takes a pretty firm libertarian line on the matter."—Samizdata
  • "By the way, DK seems to be on fucking good form at the moment."—Brian Mickelthwait
  • "Perhaps the best paragraph ever written in the history of human creation. It's our Devil on fine form."—Vindico
  • "Devil's Kitchen is the big name on the free-market libertarian strand of the British blogosphere... Profane rants are the immediate stand-out feature of DK's blog, but the ranting is backed up by some formidable argument on a wide range of issues particularly relating to British and European parliamentary politics, economics, and civil liberties."—Question That
  • "... an excellent, intelligent UK political blog which includes a great deal of swearing."—Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
  • "I like the Devil's Kitchen. I think it's one of the best written and funniest blogs in the business."—Conservative Party Reptile
  • "The. Top. UK. Blogger."—My Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
  • "For sheer intelligence, erudition and fun, Iain Dale's Diary, Cranmer and Devil's Kitchen are so far ahead of the rest I don't see how they can figure in a top ten. They are the Beatles, Stones and Who of the blog world; the Astair, Bogart and Marlon Brando of the blog world; the Gerswin, Porter and Novello of the blog world; the Dot Cotton, Pat Butcher, Bette Lynch of the blog world..."—Wrinkled Weasel
  • "It's the blogging equivalent of someone eating Ostrich Vindaloo, washed down by ten bottles of Jamaican hot pepper sauce and then proceeding to breathe very close to your face while talking about how lovely our politicians are... But there's much more to his writing than four letter words."—Tom Tyler
  • "God bless the Devil's Kitchen... Colourful as his invective is, I cannot fault his accuracy."—Tom Paine
  • "The Devil's Kitchen is a life-affirming, life-enhancing blog ... This particular post will also lead you to some of the best soldiers in the army of swearbloggers of which he is Field Marshal."—The Last Ditch
  • "... underneath all the ranting and swearing [DK]'s a very intelligent and thoughtful writer whom many people ... take seriously, despite disagreeing with much of what he says."—Not Saussure
  • "... the most foul-mouthed of bloggers, Devils Kitchen, was always likely to provoke (sometimes disgust, but more often admiration)."—The Times Online
  • "The always entertaining Mr Devil's Kitchen..."—The Times's Comment Central
  • "Frankly, this is ranting of the very highest calibre."—The Nameless Libertarian
  • "I don't mean it literally, or even metaphorically. I just find that his atheism aside, I agree with everything the Devil (of Kitchen fame...) says. I particularly enjoy his well crafted and sharp swearing, especially when addressed at self righteous lefties..."—The Tin Drummer
  • "Spot on accurate and delightful in its simplicity, Devil's Kitchen is one of the reasons that we're not ready to write off EUroweenie-land just yet. At least not until we get done evacuating the ones with brains."—Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
  • "This hugely entertaining, articulate, witty Scottish commentator is also one of the most foul-mouthed bloggers around. Gird up your loins and have a look. Essential reading."—Doctor Crippen
  • "The Devil's Kitchen is one of the foremost blogs in the UK. The DK is bawdy, foul-mouthed, tasteless, vulgar, offensive and frequently goes beyond all boundaries of taste and decency. So why on earth does Dr Crippen read the DK? Because he reduces me to a state of quivering, helpless laughter."—Doctor Crippen's Grand Rounds
  • "DK is a take-no-prisoners sort of libertarian. His blog is renowned for its propensity for foul-mouthed invective, which can be both amusing and tiresome by turns. Nevertheless, he is usually lucid, often scintillating and sometimes illuminating."—Dr Syn
  • "If you enjoy a superior anti-Left rant, albeit one with a heavy dash of cursing, you could do worse than visit the Devil's Kitchen. The Devil is an astute observer of the evils of NuLabour, that's for sure. I for one stand converted to the Devil and all his works."—Istanbul Tory
  • "... a sick individual."—Peter Briffa
  • "This fellow is sharp as a tack, funny as hell, and—when something pisses him off—meaner than a badger with a case of the bullhead clap."—Green Hell
  • "Foul-mouthed eloquence of the highest standard. In bad taste, offensive, immoderate and slanderous. F***ing brilliant!—Guest, No2ID Forum
  • "a powerfully written right-of-center blog..."—Mangan's Miscellany
  • "I tend to enjoy Devil's Kitchen not only because I disagree with him quite a lot of the time but because I actually have to use my brain to articulate why."—Rhetorically Speaking
  • "This blog is currently slamming. Politics certainly ain't all my own. But style and prose is tight, fierce, provocative. And funny. OK, I am a child—swear words still crack a laugh."—Qwan
  • "hedonistic, abrasive but usually good-natured..."—The G-Gnome
  • "10,000 words per hour blogging output... prolific or obsessive compulsive I have yet to decide..."—Europhobia
  • "a more favoured blog from the sensible Right..."—Great Britain...
  • "Devils Kitchen, a right thinking man indeed..."—EU Serf
  • "an excellent blog..."—Rottweiler Puppy
  • "Anyone can cuss. But to curse in an imaginative fashion takes work."—Liftport Staff Blog
  • "The Devil's Kitchen: really very funny political blog."—Ink & Incapability
  • "I've been laffing fit to burst at the unashamed sweariness of the Devil's Kitchen ~ certainly my favourite place recently."—SoupDragon
  • "You can't beat the writing and general I-may-not-know-about-being-polite-but-I-know-what-I-like attitude."—SoupDragon
  • "Best. Fisking. Ever. I'm still laughing."—LC Wes, Imperial Mohel
  • "Art."—Bob
  • "It made me laugh out loud, and laugh so hard—and I don't even get all the references... I hope his politics don't offend you, but he is very funny."—Furious, WoT Forum
  • "DK himself is unashamedly right-wing, vitriolic and foul mouthed, liberally scattering his posts with four-letter-words... Not to be read if you're easily offended, but highly entertaining and very much tongue in cheek..."—Everything Is Electric
  • "This blog is absolutely wasted here and should be on the front page of one of the broadsheets..."—Commenter at The Kitchen
  • "[This Labour government] is the most mendacious, dishonest, endemically corrupt, power-hungry, incompetent, illiberal fucking shower of shits that has ruled this country..."—DK

Blogroll

Campaign Links

All: Daily Reads (in no particular order)

Politics (in no particular order)

Climate Change (in no particular order)

General & Humour (in no particular order)

Mac,Design Tech & IT (in no particular order)