There are a lot of theories being floated on how to effect financial system stability. Most involve separating money from finance. Reverence for money or cash is evident in the Chicago School of economics and neoliberalism, where value theory is based on price. It also underlies theories that equate banks...

ABSTRACT: Sylvain Raynes experimented with a method developed by Goya and Boyarski (1993) to standardize the synthesis of conditional Markov transition matrices for deal entry in our automated re-rating system, ABSTRAK®. In the analytical literature, the reverse-engineering of a Markov matrix from its spectral-radius eigenvector is referred to as the Inverse Perron-Frobenius...

Adam Hartung wrote a great column in Forbes on thinking prospectively.  So good, I took it on board to frame a conversation about R&R.
  1. Stop waxing eloquently about what you did last year or quarter. Yesterday has come and gone. Let’s talk about the future.
In 2015, R&R Consulting will focus more on selling.
  1. Tell me about important trends that are going to impact your business. Is it demographics, aging population, the ecology movement, digitization, regulatory change, organic foods, mobility, mobile payments, nanotechnology, biotechnology…?  What are the critical trends that will impact your business going forward?
Our business is essentially protected, and protectionism is a formidable adversary when you are an advocate of change. The most critical trend facing the ratings business is need to evolve from ordinal rankings to bona fide risk measures of risk and uncertainty. This is a very dense assertion that needs several steps to unpack.

We can try to change the system, or we can try to change human psychology and behavior. For my money, attempting to change the system by substituting one vision for another is a better way to change the dialogue. Ha-Joon Chang is a Cambridge economics professor, Guardian columnist and influential critic of capitalism, on a mission to change the dialogue on economics from a"god-given" puritanical framework that rewards status-quo wealth to a social system that can be improved, for the benefit of nearly everyone. His recent critique of the positive spin on austerity in The Guardian captured my attention:

Twenty years ago, rating agency analysts disagreed on whether non-AAA corporations could issue AAA-rated structured securities. Aircraft finance was the poster child of the debate. "Impossible. Too volatile," corporate analysts reasoned. Structured analysts would retort: "Not even $1 of securities can be funded at AAA?" And, if $1 can be funded at AAA levels, what about $2? $3? $1 MM? This spring, R&R got close to the emerging solar securitization market through committee work coordinated through the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is working to promote solar energy and preparing for the imminent (2016) solar tax credit phase-out. In December 2013, NREL's Travis Lowder and Michael Mendelsohn published a white paper, The Potential of Securitization in Solar PV Finance, which argues for securitization as replacement funding. R&R discovered that rating agency bias exists against solar PV lease securitization, similar to corporate. The agencies willing to issue ratings (some are not) are capping the rating at low Investment Grade risk levels. Really? Not $1 of securities backed by energy that continuously self-generates is capable of being rated AAA?

Over the last few weeks, much ink has been spilled in an attempt to refute, undermine and marginalize the book “Capital in the 21st Century” by Thomas Piketty, a French economist. In some, unsurprisingly British quarters it has even reached the level of “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” You cannot convince people of your viewpoint by just silencing the opposition. It’s a safe bet that, had a British economist said the same things or reached similar conclusions, no British institution would have attacked him so publicly. But who knows, perhaps “Le Monde” would have done so with gusto and joie de vivre! It’s clear that the Financial Times is not a proper forum to argue about economic time-series with any seriousness. Although one can find fault with the Mona Lisa, doing so does not take anything away from its value as a work of art.

Two days ago, Business Insider published a good summary of little known facts about Alibaba. Several facts highlight how the mega trade-web dwarfs competitor e-commerce platforms in the U.S. and in China on several critical measures, including employees, registered users, web visits, sales throughput (on track...