miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2007

Propiedad Intelectual

La propiedad intelectual es uno de los bienes mas preciados para cada sociedad a medida que va avanzando en su desarrollo. Recordemos que USA solo adhirio a Berna en 1876, y, que tenemos pendiente un problema con Monsanto (voy aprendiendo de agricultura).
Releyendo por algun lado, me encontre con un diferendo que, va en camino de acuerdo a lo que leo de transformarse en un leading case de esto, y del libre comercio.
A pesar que les deje los links a algunas personass con las cuales aprendo, me parecio al menos divertido insertar aca

Los actores:

1. USA. No hace falta agregar mucho
2. Antigua . Islita del caribe, que aparte de playa tiene:

Internet hosting & gaming

Antigua is a recognized centre for online gambling companies. Antigua was one of the first nations to legalize, license and regulate online gaming.

El Hecho?

Some countries, most notably the United States, argue that because the gaming transaction is initiated in their jurisdictions that the act of online wagering is illegal. This argument has been repudiated by the World Trade Organization.[2] However in 2006 the United States Congress voted to approve the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act which criminalizes the operations of offshore gaming operators which take wagers from American-based gamblers.

Slysoft, a vendor of CD- and DVD-copying software designed to overcome anti-copy technologies also operates from Antigua.

Lo que pasa

Antigua Seriously Pushing For WTO Approval To Distribute Free Music And Movies

Since 2003, we've been following the saga of Antigua's fight against the US in the World Trade Organization. Basically, Antigua argued that the US's ban on online gambling violated the free trade agreement the two countries had signed -- as it blocked online gambling sites based in Antigua (of which there are a bunch). Since then, the case has been fun to watch if only for how the US has responded to it. The WTO ruled in favor of Antigua at which point the US basically ignored the WTO, despite the WTO occasionally making angry noises. Then, there was the time that the US went so far as to declare that the WTO had reversed that original ruling on appeal... but the details showed that the US was making up that claim and the WTO was still supporting Antigua. Earlier this year, after the WTO started stomping its feet again, the US responded by saying it was simply (unilaterally) going to change its free trade agreement with Antigua, so that online gambling wasn't included. Obviously, Antigua finds that solution quite troublesome.

Back in early 2006, however, a few people began buzzing about an idea that Antigua could use to force the US to pay attention: become an WTO-backed ignorer of US copyright law. Since the US knew it could effectively ignore Antigua over online gambling, the idea was that Antigua should simply say that if the US won't support its free trade agreement, then it would start ignoring US copyright laws, and would then (with WTO-backing, mind you) allow modern versions of all sorts of copyright-violating services to prosper. We didn't think that Antigua would seriously go in this direction, but as a new NY Times article makes clear it's exactly what Antigua is now pushing for. Of course, the real hope is that in doing so, the Big Copyright players will force the US government to back down on the gambling issue. However, it might be a lot more interesting to see what would happen if Antigua really did become the protected legal home of more modern versions of (the old) Napster, my.mp3.com, the Pirate Bay, Allofmp3.com and others.

Este es un pequeño resumen, hay diversos, pero hay dinero en juego, ya estan reclamando USD 4,3Bn de dañosVa a ser divertido ver como sigue

sábado, 18 de agosto de 2007

Burbujas y Minsky

Leyendo acerca de la explosion y las burbujas inmobiliarias, en un lugar que frecuento, me encontre con esto, que me hizo acordar al procer cuyo nombre ostenta este blog, y un colega de el, Ponzi, de una persona que vive de esto

Minsky Has His Moment

July 29th, 2007 by reality

prechter-fig-1.gifThe Minsky Moment is important because it means the beginning of forced selling. Buying driven by ever-increasing leverage stops, and selling to decrease leverage begins. The deleveraging sellers are there because they must sell.

Last week, the stock market had its first significant bout of selling since the China-driven break in late February. Up to this last week, the buying has been relentless. The chart at left, borrowed from a May piece by Robert Prechter, shows one part of the debt - the credit extended to hedge funds - that has been driving up prices.

NYSE margin debt was a record $378 billion in June, about one-third higher than the previous peak in early 2000.

While there is some modest coverage in the press about the turmoil in the credit markets, it is not getting the coverage it should. As the Minsky Moment passes and the bust begins, it will be important to monitor the state of the credit markets. Fortunately, we have the excellent Markit site showing the yield spreads and the cost of credit default swaps. They lay it out pretty well, although it is not obvious what the various indices are. A brief directory:

  • ABX are the asset-backed indices, meaning the collateral for the credit is physical. Right now only the ABX-HE series exists, although others such as auto loans will be provided in the future. HE means Home Equity, these are second mortgages and lines of credit.
  • CDX covers corporate debt of various kinds - domestic, emerging markets and so forth.
  • CMBX covers securities backed by mortgages on commercial property (i.e. not houses and condos.)
  • LCDX is a tradable index of the cost of credit default swaps on an index of 100 corporate loans (similar to CDX loans).
  • LevX is an index covering the most liquid traded corporate loans in Europe.

It should be clear from browsing these indices that there has been an abrupt change in the pricing of risk. Bulls will say, yes, but high-yield spreads (the difference in interest rates between junk bonds and Treasuries) are still nowhere near the levels they have reached in the past, so it is really no problem. To which my response is, leverage today is far higher than it has ever been in the past. The stock market has been levitating because of debt -

  • traditional margin debt, borrowed money in brokerage accounts. While extreme, leverage here is generally limited to 2:1 by SEC rules so it is comparatively safe.
  • leverage in hedge funds. One of the Bear funds that recently failed was leveraged 15 times. The problem is not so much the average, but the extremes.
  • leveraged purchases of hedge funds, (which is why Barclay’s is now suing Bear Stearns, because they were financing Bear’s customers’ purchases of the Bear hedge funds).
  • so-called private equity, really traditional leveraged buyouts. Problem here is that as rates go up, even though money may be available, the target companies aren’t earning enough to pay the interest.

The reality is that there are lots of folks out there who are leveraged 20:1 and more. It only takes a 5% loss to wipe them out. Let’s recapitulate Minsky’s classifications of borrowers in a bubble:

  • Hedged borrowers, who can meet all debt payments - interest and principal repayment - from their cash flows.
  • Speculative borrowers, who can meet their interest payments, but can only repay principal when the asset is sold.
  • Ponzi borrowers (you remember Chuck), who can’t pay the interest, let alone the original debt, and rely entirely on rising asset prices to allow them continually to refinance their debt.

We know who the Ponzi borrowers are:

  • Anyone borrowing against their property on a teaser rate - a low rate which carries a prepayment penalty - or a negative-amortization loan. Or who simply has bought or held on to property that they do not have the cash flow to carry, but must sell fairly quickly.
  • The leveraged hedge funds - and the idiots (yeah, I know, judgmental) borrowing to invest in them.
  • Many stock traders using margin. We know, for sure, that corporate dividend yields are way below margin rates so the margin borrower is burning money with net carry in his or her account. Maybe they can keep putting more money in. Or maybe not.

These folks are the first to go. They are the first forced sellers. Next up are the speculative buyers. These folks are forced over the side as soon as any kind of economic decline takes hold. While the corporations which have been stuffed with debt by the private equity guys (should really be called private debt) are OK today, these recent deals have been done with extremely thin interest coverage. That is, as soon as the corporation suffers any kind of reversal in a recession, they will not be able to service their debt and will default or restructure. The downward spiral soon follows. The big advantage of equity financing of a corporation is that it is undemanding, sure shareholders like dividends, but the company can withhold them at any time without penalty. (Interesting side note - after the close on Friday, American Home Mortgage announced it wasn’t going to pay its recently declared dividend, I’ve never seen that before).

personal savings.gifTurning to the man in the street, who has met the challenge of flat real income with credit cards and borrowing against property, to say nothing of buying anything and everything with loans and leases rather than cash.

The net outcome has been a negative savings rate, which shows that household expenditure is now exceeding household income. There’s a lot of debate about what is properly considered investment, and therefore saving, not expenditure. Personally I don’t think granite countertops and Sub-Zero appliances are an investment, although technically they are considered to be. I would even argue that when the price of a house exceeds its fair value based on rental income, the excess should be considered consumption rather than investment. It is certainly malinvestment in the Austrian sense.

But any way you cut it, looking at the savings rate or the trade deficit, America consumes more than it makes and is reliant on borrowed savings from other countries to make ends meet. At some point, the carrying costs of that debt make it difficult to service. Joe and Jane Ponzi can no longer refinance or roll over asset gains to meet their carrying expenses. Then the downward spiral begins. Consumption falls, incomes fall. That’s probably where we are.

But nobody cares. Complacency rules. The chart below shows that mutual funds, the largest investors in the stock market, have practically no cash reserves with which to meet redemptions. Yet this week saw the biggest outflow from U.S. stock mutual funds in five years, according to TrimTabs.

It is likely, in my opinion, that the late afternoon selling on Friday was mutual funds meeting redemption requests. If this continues in the short term, look out below. There is no cushion, funds must sell.

In summary, we’re going to have a lot of forced sellers in the major asset markets. Foreclosures, margin calls, redemptions. Be careful out there.

lunes, 13 de agosto de 2007

La contra de Sadi

Leyendo a Kurzweil, me encontre con el termino extropy, y lo busque


The term extropy, coined by Tom Bell (T. O. Morrow) in January 1988, is defined as the extent of a living or organizational system's intelligence, functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth. Extropy expresses a metaphor, rather than serving as a technical term, and so is not simply the opposite of entropy, although it is also considered the appropriate antonym. The concept of extropy is commonly invoked within some strains of transhumanism.

In the philosophy of digital probabilistic physics, the extropy of a physical system is defined to be the self-information of the markov chain probability of the physical system at a moment in time. This was to distinguish the probability of the markov state of the physical system from the probability defined by entropy which creates ensembles of equivalent microstates.

  • Extropic — Actions, qualities, or outcomes that embody or further extropy.

sábado, 11 de agosto de 2007

Me suena conocido

Leyendo otro libro, me hizo buscar la vida de Andrew Jackson, que fue un presidente norteamericano de las primeras decadas del siglo 19, el paralelismo (que ya algo le habia dicho a Manolo) con algun presidente nuestro en lo fundamental es notable, incluso, y no lo menciona aqui, es, como me dijo un amigo yanqui, Andrew and the gang of croonies.

Fue el primer presidente elegido por sufragio universal y que no perteneció al círculo de políticos que participaron en la guerra de independencia ni en la redacción de la constitución. Es uno de los grandes ídolos de la historia de su país por haber hecho concluir eficazmente la llamada Guerra de 1812 (batalla de Nueva Orleans), que enfrentó por segunda vez a EE.UU. con el Reino Unido, por haber anexionado la península de Florida tras comprarlo a los españoles en 1819 (durante la administración del presidente James Monroe) y haber dirigido las guerras indias contra las tribus Creek , Seminola y Cherokee ,que tuvieron como objetivo empujarlas más al oeste para permitir a los blancos establecerse hasta el Misisipi (Se le atribuye por esto último, la frase «El único indio bueno es el indio muerto»). En 1837 Jackson también reconoció a la nueva República de Texas, cuyo territorio poco antes había pertenecido a México y en cuya creación también influyó.

Además de ser el primer presidente de origen humilde y nacido en el sur, proyectó la imagen de defensor del hombre común. Sus diferencias con el BancoNacional (hábilmente dirigida por Nicolas Biddle), promovida también por granjeros del oeste, sufridores de la crisis económica de 1819, consistían en la suspicacia del pueblo ante la ambición de políticos, banqueros e inversionistas extranjeros. Y todo esto llevó a que desconfiaran de las notas bancarias, y a exigir a que se pagase con monedas de oro o plata. Por encima de todo, Jackson consideró al Banco una institución anticonstitucional y antidemocrática, porque privilegiaba a unos pocos habitantes, los más ricos, frente a la mayoría.

Entonces, cuando en 1832 el Congreso aprobó la solicitud de renovación de la licencia del Banco Nacional para 1836, el presidente interpuso el veto. Los cuatro años que siguieron a esta decisión del ejecutivo, fue un auténtico duelo entre Jackson y Biddle. La batalla la ganó el presidente retirando los fondos federales para enviarlos a pequeños bancos y el propio Biddle se declaró en quiebra en 1841. El cierre del BUS provocó una grave crisis económica, muchos granjeros se arruinaron y gran parte del capital extranjero se retiró de la nación ante la inestabilidad económica. Cuando llegó el desastre, Jackson ya no estaba en la Casa Blanca para presenciarlo.

Sobre lo anterior dijo Jackson:

:¿No constituye un peligro para nuestra libertad e independencia el tener un banco que tiene tan poco en común con nuestra nación? ¿No representa el mismo una causa de temor el pensar en la pureza y la paz de nuestro proceso eleccionario y en la independencia de nuestro país en guerra? El tener control de nuestro dinero, el recibir el dinero público y el mantener a miles de nuestros ciudadanos en un estado de dependencia, sería peor y más peligroso que cualquier enemigo militar y naval. — Herman E. Cross, Documentary History of Banking and Currency in the United States, Chelsea House, pp. 26, 27.

En 1830 se aprobó en el Congreso la subvención a una carretera en Kentucky de 100 kilómetros que él vetó. Vetó este proyecto por considerar que los fondos públicos podían ser malversados con facilidad y porque un proyecto de estas características beneficiaba a un Estado y no al conjunto de la nación. Con respecto a la venta de tierras, Jackson adoptó la opción favorable de defender a todos aquellos colonos que quisieran establecerse en las nuevas tierras de forma libre. El precio de la venta de las tierras fue muy bajo, sólo para mantener al personal de estas operaciones. Esta medida, junto con el desalojo de los indios produjo un nuevo impulso a la colonización.

La amenaza de nulidad y secesión de los Estados, la no renovación de la cédula del Banco Nacional y el traslado de los indígenas hacia el oeste fueron los asuntos más importantes de la era de Andrew Jackson.

Con respecto a la problemática de la esclavitud, el ejecutivo ignoró bastante el tema para que no aflorara como arma política. No obstante, es necesario señalar que, pese a que en los Estados del norte se concentraban los abolicionistas, los prejuicios contra los negros eran generalizados tanto en el norte como en el sur. Con respecto a los católicos irlandeses, eran una fuente de votantes vital en el noroeste, pese al amplio sentimiento anticatólico y xenófogo de la militancia demócrata