Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Disassembly Required

This is either surpassingly trivial or else somebody wrote an academic book about it or both or neither but anyway...

This week I've been teaching the modern model of option pricing.  It's something  I like to do; I think I've figured out how to put it across in such a way that I can take students from zero to an important and interesting insight in just a couple of days and with only moderate discomfort.  The capstone comes, of course, when I get to show how option pricing has disaggregated assets.  We don't buy and sell "stuff" any more; we buy tranches of positive and negative tax flows:  the asset is just the center of the force field.

In my spare time I was finishing Siddartha Mukherjee's inimitable history of cancer, of which I wrote before.  And in an idle moment, it struck me: is it just chance that the same decade in which we discovered option disaggregation is the decade in which (say) Genentech learned how market the recombinant gene?  I'm trying my best not to use the phrase "slice and dice;" now if only I could prove that this was the generation in which we discovered Chinese food.

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