We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Never liked investments that used derivatives but I guess banks and big companys all use them now. Interesting that so many smart people have fallen under the spell of those who do math. I do wonder if top execs need to worry so much about all this hard math. Just cover the "what if" scenarios. If the company can make it through the worst case "what ifs" then they are likely to do ok or better.
Construction industry sometimes sees plans on paper or models that do not translate well to the actual sites and to the varying construction materials required. This can all become apparent on site as costs and time lines fall apart. Not a happy situation and it can take down both good and bad companys. Sometimes the most important jobs are the ones NOT taken. One job gone wrong can cost a lot more than it is worth.
Greed plays a big factor and Congress and government is now the biggest money trough. Lots of temptation for vested interests. The war on poverty, alternative energy, environmental issues, the war on drugs, and now the lawyers are writing new law on health care without even considering tort reform. The vested interests are running both sides of these large issues. Taxpayers, residents, investors, consumers, etc. are somewhat trapped inxbetween.
Derivatives can play a conservative role in protecting investments or generating a reasonable level of income. CDS's are another story. Those are the famous 'ticking time bombs' which have ignited this mess. Insurance policies renamed credit default swaps to avoid regulation since the regulators couldn't figure out what they were. Derivatives, in and of themselves, can be usefull but they're not get rich quick vehicles like credit default swaps were thought to be.