Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

The DNA of Financial Markets

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/08/04/alpha-hunter-the-dna-of-financial-markets/ The discovery of DNA’s structure revolutionized our understanding of how the human body works, revealing the source of our biological successes alongside the true sources of previously ‘unpredictable’ diseases.  Our current ‘mainstream’ understanding of financial markets is rooted in thinking akin to pre-genetic biology- and many researchers around the world are now putting together…

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Brazil – How to Build a Great Country

In this exclusive interview, we speak to Celso Amorim (Foreign Minister of Brazil from 2003-2011, and current Minister of Defence), a man who has been described as having “…masterminded a transformation of Brazil’s role in the world that is almost unprecedented in modern history…” We look at what it takes to build a great country exploring areas including economics, politics, society and culture.

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Rethinking Crime and Inequality

In July 2011, the Guardian newspaper reported that in India, “… as the country’s economy booms and millions make the leap from poverty to the ranks of the new middle class, there has been a corresponding surge in kidnapping for ransom as those who feel left behind seek a share of the spoils.  In May, India’s National Human Rights Commission estimated that 60,000 children go missing nationwide every year; fewer than a third are found….

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The Hidden Risks of Inflation

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/07/21/alpha-hunter-john-brynjolfsson-the-hidden-risks-of-inflation/ Inflation (the general rise of prices of goods and services in an economy or conversely, the erosion of purchasing power of money) is not a new phenomenon.  Even when governments used gold as units of currency– they often melted coins down to mix them with other metals (diluting the gold content, increasing money supply,…

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Is it Time to Rethink Sovereign Debt?

Hypothetical News: “…Traders around the world today began to sell all of the USA’s  military assets after a devastating terrorist attack removed confidence in the nation’s ability to protect itself.  In other news, a patient who may become terminally ill in the next few weeks has had all treatment ceased as doctors do not wish to invest any more medical-capital into a patient who only has a sixty percent chance of survival…” On the face…

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The Risks and Opportunities of Unforeseen ‘Black swan’ Market Events

Guest article written for AllAboutAlpha.com – the official publication of the  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association originally posted at: http://allaboutalpha.com/blog/2011/06/27/the-risks-and-opportunities-of-unforeseen-black-swan-market-events/ The precipitous market-collapse which began the 2007 financial crisis was considered to be a ‘once in a thousand year’ event.  Similar ‘not in our lifetime’ rarity was also assigned to the events which followed including the failures of large financial institutions, global contagion, market interventions and (more recently) potential sovereign defaults throughout europe.  All…

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The Role of Film in Society

In this exclusive interview we talk to Tom Sherak, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (best known for their Academy Awards, also referred to as “Oscars”). We look at the role of film in society and how it has grown to become such a ubiquitous art. We discuss what makes a ‘great’ movie, some history of film, the economics and future of the industry, and how the internet and other technologies such as CGI and 3D have affected the movie business.

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Blowing bubbles and capturing them in real time

In a recent paper entitled, “How to Detect an Asset Bubble” Jarrow, Kchia and Protter state that, “…After the 2007 credit crisis, Financial bubbles have once again emerged as a topic of current concern. An open problem is to determine in real time whether or not a given asset’s price process exhibits a bubble. Due to recent progress in the characterization of asset price bubbles using the arbitrage-free martingale pricing technology, we are able to…

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The Need to Call it Business

In 2010, The Economist reported the story of Narsama Anthaiah who’s “…sobbing can be heard throughout her village, Nagaram, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP).”  They continue to explain, “When visitors from Hyderabad, the state capital, some 80km (50 miles) away, cross the threshold of her bare little house, Narsama Anthaiah flings herself prostrate and wailing onto the dirt floor to touch their feet. Her theatrical grief is heartfelt. Two months ago her…

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Why Are Wars Becoming Endless?

The nature of global conflict is changing.  Until the apocalyptic end of World War II, we had seen a ‘textbook’ approach to war, with ever increasing competition in the dimensions of firepower, manpower and speed contributing to the success of any given belligerent. Since then, war has moved into its fourth generation.  As William Lind (a military expert) explains in a paper for the USAF Air University, “…In Fourth Generation war, the state loses its…

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