Friday, October 3, 2008

Commodity traders superior to chimpanzees, research shows

I made a serious career track mistake.
Years ago a counselor pointed out that I seemed to have an affinity for animals (It's true. Kids and dogs like me. So do drunks and and folks suffering from various psychopathologies).
Had I followed up on her thinking I would now be tenured, trading outside my species and living the grant-proposal dream.
This was first posted last January:
From RISK Over the Counter:

In a radical overturning of conventional wisdom, scientists in Georgia and California have found significant differences between commodity traders and chimpanzees. Chimps are, in fact, not very good at commodity trading:

the researchers found that chimpanzees often did not spontaneously barter food items, but needed to be trained to engage in commodity barter. Moreover, even after the chimpanzees had been trained to do barters with reliable human trading partners, they were reluctant to engage in extreme deals in which a very good commodity (apple slices) had to be sacrificed in order to get an even more preferred commodity (grapes)...

The report becomes particularly readable when it speculates on the reasons why:

because of their lack of property ownership norms...

...or, for that matter, pockets....

...chimpanzees in nature do not store property and thus would have little opportunity to trade commodities....MORE
See also:
Jim Cramer beats Monkey in Stock Picking Contest!
(for one week only, the monkey is ahead on performance: see below)
"...You know what – I don’t work for Murdoch”

Cramer; Aug. 20 show. Then he said let Cramer be Cramer or something, I wasn't paying attention, I was reading Warren Buffett's story about arbitraging cocoa beans against an equity....
UPDATE-Jim Cramer Beats Monkey in Stock Picking Contest

What Jim Cramer Does After Beating the Monkey
[Mr. Cramer said this in August 2007!]

When not beating the monkey, Cramer writes this in New York Magazine:

The subprime-lending crisis is worse than you think, and could crush financial and real-estate markets for years.

You’re losing money right now. This very minute. You’re losing money if you own an apartment. You’re losing money if you own a country home. You’re losing money if you own a stock or bond mutual fund. You’re losing money if you have a pension plan. You’re probably losing money here or there, you’re probably losing money everywhere (except maybe from your savings account and wallet). But this is no Dr. Seuss story. It’s more of a John Steinbeck tale, and we are the victims, a new generation of Tom Joads, and it’s the damn bankermen who broke us. No, there won’t be a police officer to investigate, and the government, at least this federal government, won’t save us....MORE

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