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Date: 2009-03-17 (02:37)
From: David Baelde <david.baelde@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] caml trading

I'm not sure how much this is off-topic... Although this thread was
intended to be about an industrial use of OCaml, one cannot ignore
other aspects like advertising: it is rarely possible to separate
issues as clearly as we'd like. Anyway, I feel very much concerned
about this debate, and I'd like to add another non-Jane-St opinion.

Like many others, I've been feeling for a long time that many
financial products and practices don't make sense. I recognize that we
live in a complex world, and perhaps I should just learn more about
economics. However, the recent crisis showed that this feeling is not
entirely unfounded, even if it does not show that finance is harmful
as a whole.

I agree with Yoann's old-fashioned feeling: if you don't bring
anything to society, why should you make that much money? The point
against super-fast trading is not so much that speed is immoral in
itself, but that such fast transactions usually seem to fall in the
category of no-value-added.

A simple answer to this criticism is that the notion of usefulness to
the society is very controversial. Let me comment on the answer that
was given instead.

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 4:31 PM, Markus Mottl <> wrote:
> Thus, besides providing wonderful jobs for OCaml-hackers, our company
> makes it cheaper for people to invest their hard-earned money by
> providing extra liquidity on financial markets.

All you're saying is that you believe in free trade. If my mobile
phone company is ripping me, they can justify it because other
companies might rip their customers even more? Notoriously, this
argument does not always work: in France, all mobile phone companies
practice similar insane prices and no "fair" one arises.

I'd like to understand finance, maybe I'll read some serious stuff
about it some day. But I feel that it's really too bad that such an
important matter is inaccessible to most citizens. More importantly,
one should not fool people (or oneself) with sloppy metaphors and
apparently flawless reasoning when it actually boils down to
non-trivial beliefs about the world economy.

In my opinion, a major sickness of our world is that it is ruled by
people who claim to understand it when they don't. Politicians always
have solutions, never doubts. Obviously, it's just a way to justify
why they're ruling those who don't understand. We should keep our eyes
open and don't let it happen unnoticed, nor reproduce it ourselves.

Despite my doubts, I enjoyed Yaron's talk and appreciate the Jane St
involvement in OCaml. I just wish it were that simple.