Requiem for Regulation

So says Simon Johnson about the JOBS bill (HERE) and many others everywhere. The CFA is against it. Lawyers, IPO experts, SEC accountants are against it. Click HERE for SEC Chief Accountant Turner’s testimony to a Senate Committee. Clearly, we have not learnt anything.  And say one for Trayvon Martin, a situation which points to what nonsensical legislation can do.


Normally don’t pass along such messages, but I liked this one.

A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa.’
‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun.
Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ‘computer’ should definitely be of the feminine gender (‘la computadora’), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2 The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself
spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (‘el computador’), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Another quotable quote….

“There are two sides on the balance sheet.

The left side of the balance sheet has nothing right

and the right side has nothing left.

But they are equal to each other.

So accounting-wise we are fine.”

Jacob Frenkel, VC of AIG


Another one-liner I had forgotten.

Behavioral Finance Expert to Rational Economic Man: The difference between us is that you expect people to be as smart as you are, while I expect people to be as dumb as I am!

This conversation is supposed to have taken place between to two leading academic economists at a conference some time ago. Whether true or not, it gets the message home in the pithy way of all one-liners.