192 definitions by abu yahya

The ability of an economic system to provide what people what, given their incomes. Given the fact that incomes and resources are both finite, efficiency will be of the utmost importance in determining if people's wants are satisfied by the workings of the economic system.
Free market economies usually provide high levels of economic efficiency.
by abu yahya June 23, 2008
(FINANCE) a type of financial derivative; a certificate that gives the owner the right to buy (or sell) a fixed amount of a specific thing for a specific price (the strike price).

An option to buy something else is called a call option; an option to sell something else is called a put option. An option has a strike price, which is the price at which you are entitled to buy (or sell) the underlying commodity, or stock, or foreign currency, or whatever.

Options allow the owner to speculate in the possibility that market prices will change in a certain direction, without actually spending the value of the underlying item. For example, suppose WTI crude is $85.75/bbl. In order to make $1000 off of a $0.25 increase in the price, you ordinarily would need to own 4000 bbls of crude, which you can't afford. So, instead, you buy a call option for 4000 bbls with a strike price of $85.75/bbl (i.e., exactly what it is now). This option will cost a tiny amount of money. If the price goes up to $86.00/bbl, you don't own the oil, but your options are now worth $1000 to somebody who wants to buy that oil.

An option with intrinsic value (for example,a call option whose strike price is less than the spot price) is "in the money." An option with no intrinsic value is "out of the money."
BILL: So, options are just like gambling, am I right?

ANNA: For most people. But if you're already in the business of buying or selling a particular thing, an option can protect you against a bad price movement.

BILL: But options on stocks? I mean, unless a company wants to reward its own executives, or something?

ANNA: Well, you might need options on stocks to hedge risk, if you're a fund manager. That way you can focus on long-run investing.
by Abu Yahya April 04, 2010
*noun*; from Greek, θεός {god} + δίκαιον (justice). Literally, "the justice of God." Specifically, the attempt to explain God's ways to mortals.

The term was used by Gottfried Leibniz for his book {Théodicée} explaining how an omnipotent and benevolent God could allow suffering in the universe. Leibniz took the approach that this was the "best of all possible worlds," meaning that God could not have made this world better in any one respect, without making it worse in others.

In 1759, Voltaire published the novel *Candide* which was essentially a very long satire of Leibniz' views. The character of Dr. Pangloss is based on Leibniz, although it has been argued that Voltaire misrepresented Leibniz' views.

In common usage, the term *theodicy* refers to any defense of a thing based on the claim that whatever that thing does is the best possible. The obvious example is neoclassical economics, which insists that whatever outcome achieved by "the market," it is the best one that could possibly exist. It's a fallacy because it uses circular reasoning, and it is unfalsifiable.
Privileged and successful groups need religion for a very different purpose, namely legitimation. Their members are convinced that they deserve their good fortune and that the poor deserve their misfortune. {Max} Weber calls this the "theodicy of good fortune"...

Anthony Waterman in 2002 put forward the suggestion that Smith could be read as offering a kind of Augustinian theodicy of the market. According to him, Smith's idea could be interpreted as thus: just like God put governments in place to restrain sin, the institution of the market also restrains sin.

Nimi Wariboko, *God and Money: A Theology of Money in a Globalizing World* (2008)
by Abu Yahya March 23, 2009
the sum of the capital account balance and the current account balance; put another way, the net change in financial reserves of a country, whether in the form of income (current account) or foreign investments (capital account)

For example, in all years since 1980, the USA has run a large-to-huge current account deficit, but in most years it has run a capital account surplus that is almost as big as the current account deficit. As a result, the USA has run a medium-to-large balance of payments deficit over this period.

A commonly-overlooked byproduct of BoP is that it determines whether or not a currency can be used as an international reserve currency. Despite repeated efforts by the governments of the EU and Japan to get their currencies established as such, they have failed to dent the US dollar's global primacy as the money for international transactions. This is because EU member states and Japan (as well as other major economies) run very large surpluses in their BoP. Japan, in particular, imports extremely little, and retains huge reserves rather than invest all of its net export earnings overseas. As a consequence, overseas holdings of euros or yen are much to small to serve as an alternative to the US dollar.
Since the oil embargo of the 1970's, the US has run a balance of payments deficit because its trade deficit was enormous; prior to the embargo, the US BoP deficit was large because the US exported such an enormous amount of finance capital. As a consequence, the balance of payments deficit has persisted since the end of the Korean War (1953).
by Abu Yahya February 14, 2009
taking an investment position that will benefit if the value of the stock goes down. Traditionally, "shorting a stock" means borrowing shares of stock from another broker, selling them, then buying them back (after the price has fallen) in order to return the stocks to the broker from whom they were borrowed.

You can short a stock using a derivative; this can include buying futures in the stock (i.e., a contract to sell someone else the stocks); or buying a put option (also called a put). A third way is to write a call (i.e., a call option, also known as a call) for the stock.
Shorting a stock usually requires a great deal of skill and courage; even the most talented short will only make money during rare crises.
by Abu Yahya April 04, 2010
The idea that, if you mitigate the consequences of a particular type of accident, then that type of accident will necessarily occur much more frequently, more than negating the initial benefit.

The CF assumes that human nature is perverse and seeks to equalize consequences. Hence, improved automotive technologies such as air bags, ABS, space frames, etc. will be offset (or more than offset) by careless driving, leading to increased highway fatalities.

FALSIFICATION: Empirical evidence shows that, while reducing consequences increases risky behavior, overall safety/health outcomes are better. Insurance companies with a stake in reducing claims verify this.

More generally, the CF confuses all forms of risk-taking, such as faster highway speeds, with fecklessness. Increased speed and convenience (for motorists) has utility; and there is no principle in welfare economics that says risk-taking will increase by an amount sufficient to offset the safety measures.
The massively overrated book *Freakanomics* (Dubner & Leavitt) includes many examples of the curmudgeon's fallacy.
by Abu Yahya August 22, 2008
A choice between an alternative that is awful and one that is unacceptable. Usually defined as "no choice at all," since one of the choices is likely to be totally unacceptable (death, starvation, death of a loved one held hostage, insolvency).
A person whose relatives have been taken hostage is faced with the Hobson's choice of rewarding someone who attacked his family, and having his relatives killed because of decisions he made.
by Abu Yahya May 05, 2010

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