10 December 2010

My Book Proposal

Listen up publishers. Here's a book proposal.

I'd like you to bid on rights to my not-yet-complete manuscript, Gambling With Borrowed Chips: The Role of Leverage, Speculation, and Regulation in a Modern Economy.

I am willing to accept millions, though hundreds of millions would be nice.

When complete, this will be a scholarly ms of approximately 76,000 words, with approx. 30 figures in the text, and extensive endnotes for each chapter, an index, and a bibliography.

As I complete outlines of each chapter in subsequent posts, I'll use the chapter titles here as links, for convenient navigation.

Synopsis

Speculation performs at least three indirect but valuable roles that assist a broader society in the wise allocation of resources: it allows commercial parties to hedge their positions; it uncovers the real value of assets; and it creates accountability for corporate managers, who in the absence of active speculators are better positioned to entrench themselves.

Speculative activity can become excessive and abusive -- the best check upon this, though, is not through regulation, much less criminalization -- the best check is the systemic one of a hard money policy.

The events of recent years -- as they have been popularly misunderstod -- have delegitimized this valuable activity, and that has given rise to a lot of real and threatened policy consequences that have done or would do more harm than good. Or, to be more precise, a very old stigma of the speculator as an anti-social parasite has re-emerged.

Outline

Introduction

Part One: The Value of Speculation
Chapters
1. The old stigma: speculators as parasites
2. From Florence to Houston
3. Equity and Prop Desks
4. The Crisis of 2008
5. Commodities and Their Derivatives
6. Betting on Foreign Exchange
7. Accounting and Valuation
8. Corporations and Accountability.

Part Two: Important Abstractions
Chapters
9. Efficient Capital Markets, A Tidy Theory.
10. ECMH, The Much Sloppier Practice.
11. On Greed and Money.
12. A World Without a Monetary Superpower

Part Three: Some Policy Consequences
Chapters
13. Bankruptcies and Rescues.
14. Public and Private Pensions.
15. Home Ownership.
16. Energy.
17. Conclusion.

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