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Matt Levine

Financial Innovation Is Depressing

Because it seems to be mostly finding legal ways to deceive people into paying too much for stuff they don't need, or failing that finding illegal ways to do that, or failing that just firing everyone and giving up. 

DealBook has a special section today on ideas and innovation on Wall Street and let's just say it will not inspire too many idealistic Stanford undergrads to stop work on their iPhone apps and take that financial-engineering job at Wells Fargo. It's all pretty sad stuff.

My favorite article in the section is of course the one on innovation in fraud, which it turns out is genuinely fertile ground for creativity, though tell that to the Stanford kids. To be fair, though, there is also innovation in catching fraud, specifically a Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rule, adopted in 2011, that outlaws market manipulation. So! Nice work there CFTC.