Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling (if only at the BBC)

I don't respond well to panic. It just tends to piss me off.

I respond even less well to fear. It strikes me as perhaps among the lowest of human emotions, and those who would intentionally attempt to manipulate it in other people come pretty close to causing me to rethink my opposition to capital punishment.

There's a BBC interview making the rounds in a which a self-declared independent trader made, in addition to some statements that many people would agree with, all kinds of other statements and predictions on the air that set off a bit of a panic:

I have heard his advice to "get prepared" for the pending calamity echoed by several other people over the past few days, all of which began to trigger my aforementioned pissed off tendencies.

Nothing calms me down like doing a bit of research, so I looked up what could be learned about the independent trader Alessio Rastani (who one critic claiming he's wrong nicknamed "the bastard offspring of Gordon Gekko").

Here's what the London Telegraph was able to find out about him:
The interview contained such gems as "Governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world [and] Goldman Sachs does not care about the rescue package."

But on Tuesday night the BBC was left facing questions about just how qualified Mr Rastani is to speak about the markets.

In the interview Mr Rastani described himself as an independent trader. Elsewhere he claims he's an "investment speaker". Instead of operating from a plush office in Canary Wharf Mr Rastani works and lives with his partner Anita Eader in a £200,000 semi in Bexleyheath, south London. The house, complete with a mortgage from Royal Bank of Scotland, belongs to her not him.

He is a business owner, a 99pc shareholder in public speaking venture Santoro Projects. Its most recent accounts show cash in the bank of £985. After four years trading net assets are £10,048 - in the red.

How a man who has never been authorised by the Financial Services Authority and has no discernible history working for a City institution ended up being interviewed by the BBC remains a mystery.

Asked why he did the interview, Mr. Rastani replied:
"They approached me," he told The Telegraph. "I'm an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC. Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking."

So he's more of a talker than a trader. A man who doesn't own the house he lives in, but can sum up the financial crisis in just three minutes – a knack that escapes many financial commentators.

"I agreed to go on because I'm attention seeker," he said on Tuesday. "But I meant every word I said." [emphasis mine]
Yes, the Eurozone crisis warrants monitoring, but like the rest of your life, that too is better done without panic.

Labels: economy, politics


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damien Hirst is a Great market indicator of late . Lehman collapse and his Monster Solo Auction a few years back. Now his Spot Paintings Extravaganza and trouble in Euro Land.

For serious Doom and Gloom I like Black Sabbath , Alex Jonez ,Gerald Cilente and Howard Knustler.

9/28/2011 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Kurt said...

Or maybe Mr Rastani read 'Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World' by William D. Cohan. Although, if Mr Cohan is as independent and self-declared as Mr Rastani perhaps we should not only panic concerning this fact, but also question his intelligence, powers of observation, and integrity as you seem to allude when pointing out Mr Rastani's independent status.

Ed, I noticed on your website how you proudly admit to being an independent curator upon establishing your gallery. Was this self-declared foolishness or just a simple fact?

9/28/2011 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I noticed on your website how you proudly admit to being an independent curator upon establishing your gallery. Was this self-declared foolishness or just a simple fact?

It was a fact that I was curating independently, but that doesn't exclude the other option you offer as well. :-)

9/28/2011 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger J. Wesley Brown said...

Yep, he's not the only one saying these things, the others being more qualified. Read Matt Taibbi on Goldman and this, for example:

"In all cases, I think the odds still favor outcomes well short of catastrophic and worst case scenarios — but the global economy is now in the catastrophe zone where speculation about such scenarios is no longer science fiction but becomes part of prudent planning."

Not fear, not panic, but a warning to plan. If one had listened to the fear and panic in the months leading up to the recession two years ago and headed that warning, one would have lost nothing. Most did not.

9/28/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous rory said...

Whether he is qualified is one thing but who is he really is quite another.

Is he one of the Yes Men? One of the Yes Men in his real life trader persona as Forbes maintains? The whole thing is so over the top it has hoax written all over it. And when will we find out?

9/28/2011 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous kim matthews said...

Thanks for this. What I think is also noteworthy is our culture's appetite for panic. As long as people seek these artificial heightened states, "attention getters" like Mr. Rastani will continue plying their trade. Frankly, I think real life is exciting enough without constant media drama. What I'd like to see is a national mainstream media boycott but I'm not holding my breath.

9/29/2011 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Kurt said...

Ed, This link address below has little to do with your post but I thought of you as I read the essay. It may help to clarify my enthusiasm about Ron Paul, as well as illustrate how similar his ideals are to a diverse range of kind, peaceful, freedom loving people everywhere. I think most Ron Paulers see it like this and are often baffled beyond disappointing belief these similar ideals are not easily recognized by those who view themselves idealistically, liberal. You have to admit, the liberal soul that was spawned from FDR days isn't the Liberal we have today. Remember Animal Farm?

9/30/2011 02:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guy is obviously a wack-job. I don't see anything wrong with him living with his partner though even if she is just a business partner. Is a gay man less because he lives in his bf's house? No. Is a woman less because she lives in a house owned by her husband? No. Be careful with this Eddy.

Fear is powerful. Both the Republicans and Democrats use it to get votes. Both politics and economics function on fear. It has always been that way. The Republicans scare the rich into voting for them and the Democrats scare the poor, gays and about anyone else under the sun who will vote for them based on fear alone.

10/01/2011 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Obama was not qualified to be President if you compared his experience at the time to Presidents who came before him. All and all he has not done that bad.

People should plan for economic crises. It is not my fault if you have nothing in your savings account but have supported a steady addiction to coffee, cigarettes, and I'll say it, art. LOL

I don't feel bad for people who failed to be prepared. I have ALWAYS had enough money in my bank account to support me for at least 3 months to a year. Saving is a pain if you work in retail or some other low paying job like I once did. But I never had a problem putting 25% of what I made into savings.

It is called sacrifice. I don't feel sorry for anyone because they chose to buy a huge TV instead of putting that money in savings in preparation of when their car breaks down. And I should not have to support programs that bail them out for not being responsible.

We have been bailing out people who make bad choices about the money they earn for decades now. Think of the family that receives help on their utility bill month after month but don't put a dime into their bank account. "If we did we could not get by". I call bs... they don't do it because if they did they could not have the new video game or cell phone.

10/01/2011 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Be careful with this Eddy.


I will.

But as I simply quoted the Telegraphy, perhaps you need to warn them instead.

10/01/2011 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."

- Thomas Jefferson

10/01/2011 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Kurt said...


I do like that quote by TJ 'cause I'm just a white boy, but I can't help concluding that maybe we deserve whatever misery comes our way considering how our conquering fathers didn't give a fuck about the people already here. Whoever came up with God bless america forgot to explain why that should be so. I say God bless the natives of Turtle Island.

10/02/2011 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Julian said...

Greece - drop out of Euro (or forced out)

EU - save the money and put towards bailing out Italy and Spain when if the time comes (on some rainy mediterranean day)

10/02/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Kurt, White Euro's now the illuminati conquered the America's . The game is still on It's called the grand chess board. They almost got Russia. Putin Out smarted them. Thank God for Russia and China as a Buffer against Wasps. They wiil never relent until they have it all.

10/03/2011 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

@J. Wesley Brown - Excellent article on the Euro panic, and on worldwide economic instability. From Asia we've seen the steady sinking of the US economy since the early 2000's. I remember one of my painting students in Hong Kong was the manager of a hedge fund as the US economy tanked in '08. She spent several classes glued to her computer as her stocks sank, while trying to paint photorealistic detials (which naturally didn't turn out well).

Now investments and currencies are linked globally more than ever before, it's crucial that a broader perspective be adopted by governments - and most of all, by those of us who vote for them.

Keeping track of currency fluctuations can be mind-boggling. I own a [decrepit] apartment in Sicily (Euros), am paid for projects by my publisher in US$, currently earn Ringgit for a residency in Malaysia, and am moving next year to Beijing (Yuan).

The real question is: Is the US$ too big to fail? China seems to have thought so, but it's now prudently diversifying its savings.

10/05/2011 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger CAP said...

It shows how standards @ The BBC are slipping, when they resort to this kind of silly sensationalism.

I suspect Rastani is a kind of fantasy of what the programers think a financier really is. But in truth, no financier anticipates a depression/recession with glee since the collapse of the banking system is also accompanied by massive civil unrest, AKA war or revolution. The hurt is not just economic then, but physical - total. Bankers kill themselves, others do it for them.

It's no coincidence that the 1930s (along with worldwide depression) sees the rise of fascism, invasions and scapegoat persecutions. Economics always reverts to politics in time of crisis. And that's never good for 'business' - unless you're in the business of government.

That's a specter that ought to be played up more, but instead the media want to continue to think that finance sort of continues, independent of politics, or at least indifferent to it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

10/05/2011 01:52:00 AM  

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