Why did they make this TV Series?

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The best part about great television shows and movies is the idea they present to the viewing audience of a life which would be lively, an escape from reality to a world they aspire to know and experience.

Of-course, when I say so, I mean TV series, more on lines of Friends, Dexter, Fringe etc., and not TV shows literally, for instance The Tonight’s Show, American Idol, etc.

Television industry is huge and so are the innumerable (just saying, I know they do approximate) fans who devotee vital part of their time in the fantasy or virtual reality. And the best part, is that it will not even matter or change anything if they don’t. I know they don’t exist as such, may be they are just pretending, but I think I’m interested in what they have to say and may be they got me, the makers of this huge entertainment business.

When someone tells you a story, short or long, they make characters and assign roles. These two things, let’s say ‘parameters’ are vital to the listener and the story, as the listener can relate to it without thinking, since it would require nothing not known but just recollecting something already known. For instance, if I tell a story and say “Mike is a librarian”, one starts picturing or at-least I will, any librarian I know of. Some basic traits and objects come naturally such as books, avid reader, helping, good listener, focused, etc. This very first impression is registered, so if you know of a librarian and apprehend the job well enough, you would wonder what this librarian is capable of, you might find it absurd, challenging to accept, unique, acceptable and so many things as you see it. At this stage, one might stop watching any further for it’s absurd, or may be wait for the next move for it is interesting or in a hope that it will get better. On another note, if you don’t know of a Continue reading

Top 10 Movies in 2010

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The top ten movies of 2010 for me differed from Oscars. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oscars and recently had a debate with my fellow friends about the legitimacy of Academy Awards. Well, I supported the claim that Oscars are fare, most of the times, but we being self-righteous, like some movies more than others, biased on the basis of cast, story, technology, personal attachment and much more. It was a crude perception that since IMDB voters favored Inception as a movie, it would win the Oscars but that was definitely not the case. Whosoever thought of that must not be thinking, for a good movie in Oscars is Continue reading

Long Live the Friends

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“Friends” was the first series I ever saw, even before Seinfeld. The show seemed ordinary at first, to be specific the first season, but then it really blew me away. I am not sure what was it, whether it was the script, the characters, or the fact that I envisioned having similar bond with my friends. The first season, was more traditional, you can guess from the music, and their acting, but it was still nice compared to any that featured in the similar genre, such as Party of Five, Chicago Hope, My so called Life, The Vicar of Dibley etc. It was the second season when I saw the characters and thought that they exist, this could be true, its no fiction, I must find myself some of these friends. Continue reading

INSIDE JOB , an Incredible JOB

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Inside Job, one of the most educational documentaries I have had a change to see, captures the plight of recession in a way that can be processed by a common man. The bubble that led to recession, also led to this movie and definitely, this movie does justice in enlightening the economic crisis in a way that many around the world do not even know. It does not take enough financial background to understand what the movie tries to infer, for the commendable job of Director Charles Ferguson explains each ingredient in the bubble’s recipe, that swept the global economy and  led to the greatest recession witnessed since the Great Depression.

I have tried to highlight some important facts that I took from the movie, in my words for people who still are unaware of the discourse. I would recommend each and everyone to watch the film, since recession affected every single life on the planet and everyone deserves to know the truth. Remember, that incomplete information does not lead to a clear understanding and often postulates incorrect results. Its important to know the true story. So, lets find ourselves an in-depth analysis for clear perception.

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What change has Recession brought?

  • Global recession caused the world over $20 trillion, rendered 30 million people unemployed,
  • Doubled national debt of US

What caused the Recession

  • Massive private gains at public loss attributed to the monopoly of investment banks in the financial sector. The strategies were for higher profits and revenue generation in short interval, not accounting bankruptcy as the final verdict.
  • The bonus system, which payed highly, to the employees working for the investment banks and security insurance agencies as soon as the contracts were signed based on short term profits.
  • The derivatives market which entitled anyone to bet on future contracts, options derived from other form of assets.
  • The competition among Investment banks which further led to riskier loan schemes, especially on houses for everyone, not bothered about the financial standing of the borrower.
  • Faulty rating attributed to the CDO (Collateralized debt obligation) which were to be payed to the investors at last. Even the CDO which investment bank bet would fail were sold to costumers based on high ratings by rating agencies.

Earlier Trends

  • Bankers were prohibited to speculate depositor savings
  • They were tightly regulated, as businesses were partnerships and  these partners who put up the money watched it closely
  • The lenders were mostly local

Earlier instances in history

  • 1982, deregulation of saving and loan companies allowed them to pursue risky investments with the depositors money, caused tax payers their money and many people their life savings.
  • The next crisis came at the end of the nineties, investment banks fulled the massive bubble in internet stocks which was followed by a crash in 2001 that cost 5 trillion dollar in investment losses. Internet companies were promoted which were likely to fail and stock analysts were paid based on how much business they bring in.

Understanding Concepts and Happenings

Securitization food chain

  • Participants in the chain – home buyers, lenders, investment banks and investors. Later, rating agencies and security insurance companies become very crucial.
  • Collateralize debt obligations (CDOs) are derived from fixed income assets. The customer loans were placed in sub-prime loans which were riskier and further, formed major component of the CDO. These CDO were mere payments to the investors. The investment bank earn commission at the time of its issue and since, they added these mortgage payments into the complex CDO, the problem of riskier sub-prime loans seemed diluted.
  • Home buyers borrowed money from local lenders, but as is the trend that mortgage payments are to be payed to local lenders, saw a shift. The payments were forwarded to the investment banks, and then on to the investors as CDO. Thus, the chain is more like a bridge where the two ends are borrowers and investors, but there is no interaction between the two. Thus, the connecting dots are lenders and investment banks, who are practically non existent in the system. They are simply forwarding the money and making profits based on interest rates and maximizing the same for greater forwarded CDO. Thus, To increase the number of CDO, the number of loan borrowers need to be maximized, thus lenders proposed easier loan schemes.
  • Credit Rating Agencies assign ratings to the debt obligations such as CDO which are used by broker-dealers, investors, investment banks and governments. These agencies have been speculated to receive compensation for giving higher ratings to CDO by the Investment banks to lure in customers and investors.
  • Further, Investment banks payed rating agencies which gave most of the CDO good rating, resulting in increase of the number of investors and clients, and hence greater earning on commission on part of Investment banks.
  • Derivative Market – a financial innovation, an unstable 50$ trillion unregulated market. When a person invests in derivative, the underlying asset is usually a commodity, bond, stock, or currency. He bet that the value derived from the underlying asset which can be future contracts or options, will increase or decrease by a certain amount within a certain fixed period of time.
  • The role of security insurance companies was to take quarterly premium from investors to secure their stand if their CDO ever failed. These insurance companies went a step ahead and accepted premiums from third parties such as Investment Banks as well. This became possible because of unregulated derivative market, so if the payments went bad, the company had to pay the third party as well. The investment banks used the derivative market to bet on CDO especially designed to fail, and earn money on it. They did not disclose the information of faulty CDO to their customers or investors.

What Government did wrong

  • The public law that prevented banks with consumer deposits to involve in riskier investments was later changed by “Gramm Leach Bliley Act ” which cleared the way for future mergers such as the formation of Citigroup and other conglomerates.
  • On April 28, 2004, the SEC met to consider leverage limits on the investment banks.
  • Never considered regulating highly risky derivative market.
  • Investment Banks were allowed to manipulate market economics by not levying bar on them as they involved in corruption, unprecedented betting etc.

Who was responsible

  • The entire system of securitization of food chain, that saw the giants of financial services exploiting borrowers money, practically gambling with it to increase their short time earnings and revenue, comprising the long term standing of the company. Also, luring the public into loan schemes, unprotected by Government, not in public interest, and finally dumping them with the burden of unemployment.
  • To buy a home is an American Dream, and does it not bother one when the dream becomes so much real, that everyone can own it. The current financial turmoil that eventually led to the severe global recession, undoubtedly urges people to remain more vigilant, to think harder before putting money into the hands of such companies.

Some Quotes in the movie I found essentially Great

  • When you start thinking that you can create something out of nothing it is very difficult to resist.
  • Recently neuroscientists have done experiments where they have taken individuals and put them into an MRI machine and they have to play a game where the price is money and they noticed that when the subjects earn money, the part of the brain that gets stimulated is the same part that cocaine stimulates.
  • Why should a financial engineer be paid 4 – 100 times more than a real engineer? A real engineer builds bridges, a financial engineer build dreams and you know when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it.

Are Pictures better than Words

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The day was December 8, and the year 1921, it started and now is the modern trend. The ad campaign that published the article “One Look is worth thousand words” has been acknowledged to have begun the saga of pictures, attenuating the premise of words, and  implying that pictures can better illustrate with a more obvious opinion, a situation that words might require a book to comprehend. Looking into it closely, one might get confused and find it difficult to ascertain, whether pictures alone can project the truth. Can they cripple the nub of words, or, are they simply an associate of words, bound to influence each other and work out the course, or are pictures obsolete for words are not biased, their interpretation not limited  to an individual, truly versed in pool of rendering, not bound to literal periphery.

The fact that WordPress itself, acknowledges the posts published with images, and highlights the necessity of pictures, provides enough evidence as to how deep the pictures are embedded in our system. There is no denying that pictures provide the gist of the post to certain extent, they highlight the obvious predicament that one supposedly postulates, they many-a-times form the complete post, but are they always essential. Does one use it to lure the visitors into their content, are the words not strong enough that they require pictures, does one want to enlarge the post, does the picture complement the words, is it more likely that a visitor looks at pictures and does not read the entire post, for too many words after certain time appear like blah, blah, blah! Continue reading

The SOCIAL shuTDown

“Tommy lives a life of solitude”,
said a voice from the magnanimous crowd,
the cheers went loud,
the crowd up on their feet, avowed,
Tommy may not be alone, but his cover is blown,
from now on, he is a lone.

Decision of crowd was a fair call,
judged by many, called by all,
said a voice,  praising the brawly social club,
as he drank his home-made shrub,
but does Tommy think the same,
is he devoid of friends, or is the crowd crazy to have made the claim.

The surmise of the crowd,
under the fellowship of a few, cried out loud,
dragging Tommy’s feet to the pit,
but was it “just” to have made that notion sit,
why should a Tommy face the judgment,
crawl in this viscous social stigma like a mutant.

Living in the society, you bare with it,
follow the rules whether right or wrong, finally submit,
follow the few even though it does not matter,
to protect yourself, make someone else-es life bitter,
but why do we do that, not in a flock are we,
why remain spectators, cowards we are not, Are we?

Prompt 171: Endure
One Shot Wednesday