by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 21st 2010 1:28am
We've talked in the past about some of the many rather innovative efforts by David Bowie to come up with new business models. He's been a huge pioneer in embracing what new technologies allow -- and also new markets and financial opportunities. Of course, most famously, many years ago he "securitized" himself with Bowie Bonds, that allowed him to cash out quickly, while letting others buy into his future earnings. It was actually quite a creatively done idea. But now, ChurchHatesTucker points us to an article by Evan Davis suggesting that David Bowie and his Bowie bonds are at the heart of the financial crisis. This is -- let's just say it -- flat out ridiculous. Financial engineering and all sorts of derivatives were already coming into fashion, and in the unlikely event that Bowie's setup inspired others to securitize mortgages, you can pretty much guarantee that someone else would have come up with the same idea before too long, anyway. Taking a future cash flow and turning it into a security isn't an inherently bad idea, either. It has many good and useful attributes. The problem wasn't securitizing the debt, but using that process (and further engineering) to hide the underlying assets and the true risk associated with the offering. That was not David Bowie's fault by a long shot. It's really too bad that an "economics editor" would confuse the basic concept of securitizing future cash flows with abusing that process to hide actual risk. And dragging David Bowie and his innovations down along with such a confusion doesn't help anyone.
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