Only the paranoid banks survive

“Sooner or later, something fundamental in your business world will change.” – Andrew Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive

Everyone hates banks. This has created an opportunity for business gurus, futurists and charlatans to proclaim the imminent death of banks. Stories on how technology will make traditional banks obsolete are eagerly picked up by the media. Continue reading “Only the paranoid banks survive”

Shameless self-promotion

As announced, I’ve picked up the pace of blogging. Since I’m really proud of Bankers are people, too, I’m going to add a reference to my book under every post, whether the post is directly related to the book or not.

If you don’t have the time to read, you can also hire me for lectures. Short courses include the basics of banking1, risk management2, knowledge management3 and central banking/monetary policy4. The courses are based on years of experience.

Furthermore, I give presentations to bankers, investors or students on the psychology of investing, financial technology (past, present and future), macroeconomics, and science versus economics.

Contact me at bankersarepeopletoo@gmail.com for more information!

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You might like Bankers are people, too because it doesn’t contain any self-promotion.

My beef with bitcoin bulls

Everybody has heard of bitcoin by now. The price of the cryptocurrency is hitting all-time highs. John McAfee has bet that one bitcoin will be worth $500,000 in the year 2020. Bank chief Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud. His statements were (predictably) followed by articles saying that bankers should be afraid of cryptocurrencies.

It seems there are two bitcoin camps: the true believers and the naysayers. Izabella Kaminska from FT Alphaville in particular has been explaining for years why cryptocurrencies are not the utopia some imagine them to be. In this post, I summarize my own reasons why I don’t think bitcoin is a credible threat to the banking industry.1 Continue reading “My beef with bitcoin bulls”

Europe and Japan: Monetary policies in the age of uncertainty (notes)

On 2 October, think tank Bruegel and Kobe University organized a conference on monetary policy in Brussels. The speakers compared the challenges faced by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). This post is a reminder to myself based on my notes. I don’t cover the contributions of all participants. Don’t expect a story or a conclusion 🙂 Continue reading “Europe and Japan: Monetary policies in the age of uncertainty (notes)”

Two publication cultures: economics versus physics

In a recent blog post, professor Roger Farmer comments on the publishing process in economics. He writes that economic journal publishing is “a process that is highly centralised around five leading journals. These are the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economic Studies, Econometrica and the Journal of Political Economy. For a young newly appointed lecturer, publishing a paper in one of these top five journals is a pre-requisite for promotion in a leading economic department […]” Continue reading “Two publication cultures: economics versus physics”

Bankers are people, too

My book is published!

Do you think banking is too hard for you? Are you convinced that all bankers are crooks? Would you like to follow the financial news, but you always get stuck on terms like derivatives, cryptocurrency or quantitative easing?

Then I have some good news. Continue reading “Bankers are people, too”

Book news!

Regular readers of this blog have probably noticed that I haven’t posted much lately. There is a good reason for that: I’ve been busy getting my book ready for print. I got the proof copy in the mail yesterday.

After working on this project for more than a year, it feels great to finally hold the result!

The book will be out next week, once the final corrections are done.

Bankers are people, too is an introduction to finance for the general public. In about 200 pages, I give a big picture overview of banking and money. The book explains how commercial banks create money, what central banks do, the distinction between banks and insurers, how quantitative easing works, the interaction between finance and the economy, and much more.

The topics in Bankers are people, too are not exactly bedtime reading material. That’s why the text is interspaced with cartoons. The ideas in the book are illustrated with plenty of examples and figures.

As soon as the book is out, I’ll have more to say on its content and why I picked this title.

Does having to sell my book mean that this blog is going to devolve into a series of ads for it? Well, no. I have a huge backlog of ideas for posts. Including one on blockchain/bitcoin, an assessment of QE, some reviews of books I’ve read, and how I (sort of) became an economist.


Should central banks have an Independent Evaluation Office?

Should the European Central Bank (ECB) have an independent evaluation office (IEO)? Benjamin Braun recently asked this question on Twitter.

My first reaction was: probably not, because the ECB already evaluates its past performance. However, after more thought, I have changed my mind. This post examines some recent failures of central banks; how an IEO could improve monetary policy going forward1; and what it would take for the IEO to be an effective department rather than a paper tiger. Continue reading “Should central banks have an Independent Evaluation Office?”

Michael Lewis on the US Department of Energy (highly recommended!)

Michael Lewis, the author of The Big Short, has written a great article for Vanity Fair.

Why the scariest nuclear threat may be coming from inside the White House is a fascinating portrait of the Department of Energy.

If you’re interested in politics, management, innovation, nuclear weapons or environmental pollution, you should read the article now. Continue reading “Michael Lewis on the US Department of Energy (highly recommended!)”