Monday, November 24, 2008

A last word from J. Orlin Grabbe

In scouring web sites for interesting commentary today, I learned that J. Orlin Grabbe died earlier this year at the age of 60. Despite his eccentricity, or because of it, his website often provided some singular insights or commentary. The intensely libertarian, conspiracy obsessed, intellectually gifted Grabbe, a Harvard PhD. and former Wharton professor who in 1986 wrote a seminal analysis and widely used textbook on derivatives pricing, "International Financial Markets", died at his final home in Costa Rica(after leaving academia in the early '90's he first lived in Greenwich Village with his cat and then in Reno, Nevada near the tables). His website stands but without his commentary and choices of articles(and photographs one might add) it is nothing. I found one quote through Google that captures what his attitude would have been about recent financial events, as follows:

"Free lunch strategies have a habit of self-destructing. The Swiss economist Eugene Boehler had the context of such false and unsustainable images in mind when he noted that 'the modern economy is as much a dream factory as Hollywood'. It is based only a small part on real needs, and for the greatest part on fantasy and myth, he claimed. The stock exchange, far from ruling economic life, is at the mercy of the tides of collective make-believe. Depressions come about when there is a loss of economic myth." J. Orlin Grabbe


Blogger John Landes said...

Yes, there's a big psychological component. If it were otherwise, market valuation would just be arithmetic.

9:53 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home